The US military and its counterparts in the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) have said various southern Africa regional forces, the MDF in particular, are better equipped for missions and emergencies both internal and regional following the country’s second successful hosting of the Southern Accord military exercise.
Over 16 countries and multinational organisations, including Sadc and UN participated in the two-week table-top training and command post military exercises held simultaneously in Lilongwe and Salima, described by MDF and US top military commanders as a huge success.
The exercise, codenamed Exasa16, is held by the US military with willing African host nations, and is aimed at improving joint military operation capabilities and also enhancing capabilities of participating nations.
Swaziland, Angola, Zambia, Lesotho and Namibia sent their troops and observers while The Netherlands, Italy and US provided both participating troops and facilitators.
Speaking during the closing of the training on Friday, MDF deputy commander for operations and training, Lieutenant General Clement Namangale, said the exercise will help the MDF as it fights to enforce an elusive peace in eastern DRC where the country’s troops are deployed, but also guarantee security at home.
He said whole government approach was also required on human security and natural disasters, but cautioned against the desire for competition instead of collaboration.
“Similarly, solution to the DRC problem is solely military. This then requires continuous comprehensive planning and preparations by Framework Brigade CPX Exercise participants and other relevant stakeholders to maintain focus on planning essentials,” said Namangale.
He, however, cautioned the Sadc region that its militaries were not a solution to every conflict, including the one in DRC or anywhere, saying most militarised challenges require social and political solutions.
US Africa Army deputy commanding officer, Brigadier General Jon Jensen, said the exercise focused on skills that will enable the various militaries to apply them directly during the table top exercise. He added that the exercise was unique for US Army Africa because it was the first time that the US military simultaneously hosted a Command Post Exercise and a Table Top Exercise.
He said the Command Post Exercise in Salima focused on a Monusco peacekeeping mission in the Congo, and he was confident that the region’s troops were now better equipped to handle the conflict.
The disaster response exercise focused on coordination between the military and other government agencies. n