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    Eastern Africa Standby Force Reaches Milestones at Conclusion of Exercise

    Planning with the Military Police

    Photo By Lt. Col. Dante Brown | Lt. Col. John Mullaney (center), commander of the 744th Military Police Battalion,...... read more read more

    DJIBOUTI - After four days of working through incidents, simulated local hostilities, and logistical challenges, the newly forged Eastern Africa Standby Force completed its Field Training Exercise, capping it off with a closing ceremony at Grand Bara, Djibouti Dec. 4.

    Ten countries of the Eastern African Brigade can now say they've worked together and completed their mission.

    "We want to convey this message to the fellow heads of states—the region is now standing and ready to go," said Peter Marwa, director of the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade Coordination Mechanism during remarks at the closing ceremony.

    President of the Republic of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh, closing ceremony guest of honor, acknowledged the exercise was a major milestone. "A united Africa and African defense has seemed a concept for a long time," he said. "However, it is no longer a concept. It is vital for us Africans to be able to successfully assist our own and be responsible in case of crises."

    Army camps from Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Seychelles, Somalia and Uganda surrounded the Exercise Control in Atra, each participating in training scenarios that included armed groups manning illegal vehicle check points, mounted ambushes, hijacked vehicles, hostile crowds, blocked roadways, and other incidents. Their goal was to learn how to work together to bring stability and peace to unstable situation in another country in the region, in addition to overcoming logistical obstacles. Police and civilian specialists also participated in the scenarios and all were evaluated on their responses.

    "I think [the exercise] is a good challenge for the region. It brings many benefits in terms of the unity and the cohesion of the region, said Gen. Salimou Oumri, chair of Eastern Africa Defense Staff and Chief of Defense Staff of Comoros. "I think things went very smoothly beyond our expectations."

    At the closing ceremony, there were many distinguished visitors. In addition to Guelleh, Marwa, and Oumri, Vice Adm. Robert T. Moeller, U.S. Africa Command deputy to the commander for Military Operations, and Maj. Gen. Zakaria Cheikh Ibrahim, chief of General Staff, Djibouti, attended the event.

    Ibrahim acknowledged the troops as he walked the parade ground. Following the troop inspections, key members of the EASF FTX provided closing statements.

    Marwa recognized support from the international community, acknowledging their part to ensure exercise success. "Our exercise had a huge measure of informational input from our partnership, which was able to contribute to the success of this exercise: the United States, France, Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Japan and the Ukraine," said Marwa. "To all these countries who have contributed to the success of the exercise, I say thank you very much."

    According to EASF literature, EASBRICOM is undertaking this multi-national, multi-dimensional integrated mission and operations approach as directed by the March 2008 Policy Organs Meeting in Kampala, Uganda. The exercise was another step in the process for EASBRICOM to develop a fully operational EASF for deployment by 2015.

    Guelleh summarized the exercise with a hopeful future for the Eastern Africa region. "I congratulate you all, Eastern Africa Standby Force; there is no doubt, that thanks to your commitment and experiences in the field, you will play a positive role for the region," he said.



    Date Taken: 12.05.2009
    Date Posted: 12.05.2009 11:26
    Story ID: 42365
    Location: DJIBOUTI, DJ

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