5 African Countries Train with US Army

With support from the US Army, contingents from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have participated in field training in disaster and emergency response, as well as anti-terrorism, in the northern Ugandan district of Kitgum.

An article on the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) website says that on October 16, 133 military personnel from each of the five East African countries began the 10-day training with at least 550 US marine personnel. The region faces real threats “ranging from natural to man-made disasters; poverty and disease; porous borders and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons; internal strife; and insecurity in states neighboring the EAC,” the article says.

“The joint field training being conducted in northern Uganda is expected to develop further the capacity of the East African Community’s armed forces in humanitarian assistance,” said Beatrice Kiraso, the deputy secretary-general of the EAC in charge of the community’s political federation. “And, to some extent, peace support operations, counter-terrorism operations, disaster management and crisis response.”

The training is codenamed “Natural Fire 10” because this is the 10th in a series of exercises that started in 1998. Maj-Gen Willian B. Garrett, commanding general, US Army-Africa and US Army-Southern European Taskforce, told IRIN the training would help East African armies build the capacity to combat terrorism and respond to humanitarian catastrophes.

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