21 May 2016

Africa: Arusha Top Military Personnel Meeting Strives to End Terrorism, Conflicts

Bringing together Chiefs of armed forces from various countries across Africa, who gathered in Arusha for five days since last Monday, has proved to be the best and effective platform onto which military heads of conflicting states on the continent can mutually address their problems, reach common understanding and solve territorial problems.

That was stated by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence and National Service, Mr Job Masima during the opening of the African Land Forces Summit 2016 training seminar which brought into Arusha army chiefs in-charge of land forces from nearly 40 countries across the continent as well as the United States.

"When you get army commanders to sit together in one room, share a table and hold mutual discussions, is the best starting point in solving series of territorial conflicts affecting many countries in Africa," pointed out Mr Masima, adding that the military personnel will also find ways of jointly dealing with other problems such as terrorism, human trafficking and narcotic drugs.

Tanzania People Defence Force's Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Venance Mabeyo said developed countries like the United States which uses most advanced artillery can help African armies upgrade to modern equipment because insurgent groups like terrorists have been found to use very sophisticated weaponry, thus proving to be a challenge.

The 'African Land Forces Summit 2016,' which started on Monday, May 16 and climaxed on Thursday, the 19th of May was held at the East African Community Headquarters under the coordination of the Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) and the United States Army Africa (USARAF).

Like the previous African Land Forces Summits, this year's ALFS was yet another annual, weeklong summit which brought together land force chiefs of staff from the African continent to discuss mutual threats and challenges from a regional perspective.

The Theme for this year's African Land Forces Summit is 'Building Security in Africa through Cooperation,' with the delegates addressing ways of developing cooperative solutions to regional and trans regional challenges and security threats.

A statement from the Public Affairs Office of US Army Africa, said senior leaders from African nations will also use the occasion to solidify relationships, exchange information on current topics of mutual interests and encourage cooperation in addressing challenges.

Planners from U.S. Army Africa had previously conducted an initial planning event in Arusha, last September in association with the Tanzania People's Defence Force in preparation for this year's summit at the EAC Headquarters. The USARAF international relations desk planner Mr David Sutton was earlier on quoted as saying the ALFS was the only forum for army chiefs to meet to discuss military specific issues.

The previous ALFS 2015 was held in Dakar, Senegal, and a total of 36 nations participated in the weeklong discussions about regional and trans-regional issues.

USARAF, also known as the Southern European Task Force (SETAF), is the United States Army Service Component Command of United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM), based in Italy.

USARAF has been stationed in Italy since 1955 and has a long history of operating on the African continent and partnering with African nations and in the course of the last 15 years, SETAF has provided crisis response, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance on the continent.

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