East Africa: Rwandans Join East African Armed Forces Meeting in Kampala

Photo: New Times
Briefing Rwandan troops (file photo).

A delegation of Rwandan soldiers, police, prisons and civilians have joined their colleagues from the East African Community in Kampala to discuss logistics and timelines for the joint armed forces exercise that is scheduled for November in Jinja.

The exercise that intends to test the readiness of the regional armed forces to respond to emergencies like terrorism will be held at Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF)'s Rapid Deployment Capability Center and Junior Staff College.

According to the statement issued by the UPDF on Tuesday the three-day meeting is happening at Silver Springs Hotel in Bugolobi and delegates from the six EAC member states are present.

"The main planning conference (MPC) is chaired by Rwanda's Major General Aloys Muganga. The General said among the issues to be harmonised in the next three days are logistics requirements for the exercise and review of the timelines. The initial planning conference held in March agreed to conduct the exercise in November 2019," the statement said.

The relations between Rwanda and Uganda have been fragile after Rwanda closed its border to Ugandan cargo trucks, but President Museveni said last week that the differences would be resolved.

The annual exercise codenamed Ushirikiano Imara will be the 12th Edition Command Post Exercise (CPX) and will see delegations from Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and South Sudan participate.

Brigadier James Kinalwa, the Chief of Recruitment and Training of the Uganda People's Defence Forces confirmed Uganda's readiness to conduct the exercise.

"During the initial planning conference, the delegates inspected and approved the availability of facilities necessary for the conduct of the joint exercise," he noted.

Dr Sam Omara from Uganda's Embassy in United Arab Emirates, who is heading the planning exercise said the November exercise also intends to promote the EAC integration agenda, its awareness and interoperability of the EAC armed forces.

"The exercise will cover four thematic area: Peace support operations, counter terrorism, counter piracy, and disaster management. Under disaster management, the conference underscored the need to give special attention to recurring challenges in the region such as Ebola epidemic," the statement said.

The hosting of the CPX and Field Training Exercises (FTX) is rotational among the EAC member states. The United Republic of Tanzania hosted the last military exercise in 2017/18. The exercises have been conducted since 2005.

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