Sadc moves closer to establishing standby force

Walter Nyamukondiwa in KARIBA
Sadc is moving closer to establishing its own standby force, with the final sadc Special Forces planning conference having opened here yesterday.

The conference, being attended by at least 66 delegates from the region, will finalise logistics and mapping of training exercises code-named Exercise Mahombekombe.

The training exercises are scheduled to commence next month.

The exercise will help mould a sadc Special Force which will contribute to the region’s standby force and subsequently the African Union standby force.

The regional force has already held similar exercises in Angola and Namibia, while another planning conference was held in May in Kariba.

Speaking at the official opening of the planning conference yesterday, Chief-of-Staff Administration Staff Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba said the training of sadc Special Forces remained a priority for a sadc standby force.

“The primary aim of training of this magnitude is centred on the need to build a highly trained and robust sadc Special Forces component that is capable of countering modern day threats whenever it is required,” said Major Gen Nyikayaramba.

“It enables the crafting of a standardised tactical doctrine in order to achieve interoperability and developing a common regional concept of operation.”

Speaking on developments in Lesotho where a retired army general was recently shot dead by the army, Major Gen Nyikayaramba said the case was being handled at the political level.

“It (Lesotho) remains a political issue which is better addressed by our Ministers of Defence,” he said.

“We take directives and instructions on what our principals want us to do, but ourselves (sadc Special Forces), we should not be found wanting and this is why these training activities are very critical.”

The Kariba conference is expected to come up with confirmed positions on contributions, routes and final coordination of all activities to be conducted during the field training programme.

It will involve presentations from the Parks and Wildlife Authority on the general behaviour of animals as the forces from the region will be operating in the rugged and animal infested terrain of Kariba to improve their state of preparedness.

The conference will culminate in the signing of the Status of Force Agreement by all participating member States through their commanders and will also see equipment for training coming into the country.

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