A contingent of 219 Ugandans, comprising of 163 UPDF personnel, 37 UPF, 02 UPS and 17 civilian personnel were on Wednesday flagged off to participate in the 11th Field Training Exercise (FTX) in Tanga region, Tanzania.
The flagging off function was presided over by the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Lt. Gen Wilson Mbadi at Gadaffi Military Cantonment headquarters in Jinja District.
Addressing the Contigent, Lt.Gen Wilson Mbadi said the East African Training exercise also dubbed “USHIRIKINO IMARA” will be conducted in Tanga from 05 November 2018 to 21 November 2018 by East African community partner States that include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, pursuant to Article 2 of the EAC protocol on cooperation on Defence Affairs.
Lt Gen Mbadi said the EAC-FTX model is designed based on peace support operations (PSO), Disaster Management, Counter Terrorism and counter piracy themes.
“The aim of the exercise is to jointly train and exercise the military, the police and civilian components from the six participating partner states on joint planning and conduct of operations necessary to resolve arising crisis,” Said Lt Gen Mbadi.
General Mbadi strongly emphasized discipline, hard work, and professional conduct during the exercise.
He asked the Ugandan contingent to maintain their Pan Africanist spirit, exhibit exemplary performance and be good Uganda ambassadors during the forces field training exercise.
He further told the forces that the joint annual rotational EAC FTX is aimed at testing the capabilities of pre-deployments during peace keeping and peace enforcement missions aiming at combating complex security challenges in the East African region.
At the event, the chief of training and recruitment, Brigadier Wills Byarugaba observed that some notable security challenges faced by Uganda and the EAC region can be addressed through such joint military exercises that help armed forces build the required capabilities.
He also noted that EAC Forces have gone beyond exercises and are already operating together in regional missions like AMISOM in Somalia.
Brigadier Byarugaba further said that the East African Community Joint Military Exercises are conducted annually on a rotational basis in accordance with the EAC memorandum of understanding and cooperation on peace, Defence and Security.
This, he said is in line with the decision of the EAC Sectoral Council and in line with a designed elaborate program of activities that include joint training, joint operation, technical assistance, cultural exchanges and sports and games to enhance the spirit of comradeship and interoperability among the EAC Armed Forces and other stakeholders.
The East African community decision on Field Training Exercises was reached in 2004 in a meeting in Addis-ababa, Ethiopia.
The aim was to train forces within member states as a means of demonstrating compatibility and readiness to deploy in Peace support operations basing on past experiences of conflicts in Africa such as the Rwanda Genocide, Somalia and conflicts in South Sudan.
At the end of the training exercise, participants are expected to achieve the objectives which include; Enhancing interoperability between the partner state armed forces, police component, civilian component and other stakeholders.
According to UPDF, the training shall also enhance the state of readiness of the EAC partner state’s armed forces in response to complex and multidimensional security challenges.
The training will also strengthen cooperation among EAC partner states and practice EAC standing operating procedures (SOPs).