A two-week military training programme ‘Southern Accord’ led by the US Army Africa has ended in the southern African country of Malawi.
The annual joint military exercise by the United States military is aimed at among others enhancing the capacity of military personnel in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
The programme brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping and disaster relief operations scenarios.
This year’s exercise which ran from August 1 to 12 took place in Salima and Lilongwe.
Participants were taken through academic and command post training to help them with the operational planning for the United Nations and African Union mandated operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Major General Alick Mhonei who heads Malawi’s military operations said:
“What we are doing here is still preparing for the deployment of the next battalion and the training which we had the past two weeks here will benefit our troops before they deploy in Congo.”
Lieutenant Colonel Mwizukanji Namwawa, a participant from Zambia told AFP that: “I have learnt a lot in terms of just being proactive, interacting with the other cells in addressing all the legal issues that arise, that come up especially as regards to the training as well as cases of sexual exploitation and abuse that happen in the mission area.”
But the military personnel from the SADC region are not the only ones benefiting from the programme which is also meant to foster stronger ties between the American and African military personnel.
“The positive impact is that we get an opportunity to learn from our partner nations here in southern Africa” said Brigadier General Jon Jensen who is the Deputy Commanding General for US Army Africa.
“We get the opportunity to study and be a part of UN peacekeeping doctrine which is a doctrine that is not very well known inside of our army. So we get to come here. We get to learn. We get to instruct and most importantly we get to develop partnerships and friendships,” Brigadier General Jensen added.
Nearly 250 military personnel from 10 countries were expected to have participated in the exercise.