UPDF dispatches 108 troops to South Africa




UPDF soldiers

Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has sent 108 soldiers to South Africa to take part in the African Union training.

UPDF spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, said in a statement quoted by Daily Monitor that the exercise is aimed at evaluating the state of readiness of the African Standby Force (ASF).

According to Ankunda, the exercise will also evaluate the Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC), in order to ascertain gaps and requirements for achieving Full Operational Capability (FOC) of the ASF by December 2015.

The army publicist said the troops were flagged off on Thursday in an operation code named “Exercise Amani Africa”.

The training will run from October 19, 2015 to November 7, 2015.

“The exercise will be conducted at the South African Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Lohathla, Northern Cape.”

Ankunda further noted that approximately 5,400 members from the military, police and civilian components representing four of the Regional Economic Regions of the AU will participate in the exercise.

The troop contributing countries that have confirmed participation in the exercise include; Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Other contributing and/or participating countries involved in the exercise are Algeria, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda.

Col Michael Kabango who is commanding the Ugandan Contingent said by the close of the exercise, UPDF troops will be better skilled on crises response, managing the Challenges and Constraints of a deployed mission, adapting to a mandate change, and setting conditions for long-term solutions.

“They will be better actors in stability operations, promoting Rule of law, humanitarian operations and on governance and development issues among others,” Kabango is quoted by the newspaper as saying.

The first continental Exercise to evaluate the operational readiness of the ASF which was conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2010.

The African Standby Force is part of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) that divides Africa into Regional Economic Communities (RECs) that are supposed to develop regional security forces and mechanisms to respond to crises and conflict in their specific regions.

Others are; Eastern African Standby Force (EASF), North African Regional Capacity, ECOWAS Standby Force, ECCAS Standby Force and SADC Standby Brigade.

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