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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 17:45
African Union photo U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

African Union photo U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

 

12 November 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The recent sixth AU high level retreat for the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent acknowledged an increase in the frequency and scope of violent attacks by different groups and the growing presence of the so-called Islamic State in Africa.

 

The gathering in the Namibian capital of Windhoek said this was “a matter of deep concern”.

 

In the Windhoek Declaration, issued after the retreat and ahead of the one and only field exercise of the African Standby Force’s (ASF) rapid deployment capability in South Africa, it was noted that “casualties, destruction of infrastructure and loss of livelihoods have been unprecedented”.

 

“In Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad, the Central African Republic and in Libya armed conflict and/or terrorism has resulted in a humanitarian crisis of grave proportions. There are an estimated 28 million people in need of humanitarian assistance across the Sahel.

 

“It is likely that conditions fuelling violent extremism will not subside in the immediate future, especially given the current dynamics in the Middle East and the increasing globalisation evident throughout the world,” the Declaration states.

 

Those attending also noted the global debate is shifting from “a war on terror” to other types of responses with a more holistic approach.

 

“Terrorism and violent extremism represent a multi-dimensional and complex phenomenon, requiring a comprehensive counter-strategy,” the Declaration states noting responses to these threats “have often been designed to address the symptoms through military and security centred counter-terrorism strategies”.

 

These, it continues, may seem effective in the short term but have proven to be unsustainable and ineffective and “often counter-productive and resulting in an increased pool of individuals vulnerable to radicalisation. Especially if non-state armed groups count on popular support they cannot be defeated by military action alone and a political solution should be envisaged to resolve violent insurgencies”.

 

To prevent terrorism its underlying causes have to be addressed. These the retreat identified as good governance, particularly the promotion of accountable, transparent and inclusive governance systems based on the rule of law as well as poverty, unemployment and inequality.

 

The Declaration also notes that political solutions must become central to comprehensive strategies addressing terrorism and violent extremism.

 

As far as recommendations are concerned the Windhoek Declaration states that “addressing the scourge of terrorism is not a short term exercise but a long term commitment requiring firm political will, mobilisation of considerable resources, close collaboration and carefully conducted and shared analysis”.

 

The retreat also recommended that the prevention of violent extremism and terrorism be prioritised and placed at the top of the African policy agenda.

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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 08:45
Photo Dylan Mohlala

Photo Dylan Mohlala

 

10 November 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The closing ceremony for Exercise Amani Africa II was held on 8 November at the Lohatla Combat Training Centre in the Northern Cape, with President Jacob Zuma declaring the rapid deployment capability of the African Standby Force (ASF) ready to go. Some 5 000 troops from numerous African Union countries took part in one of the largest military exercises ever held in South Africa.

 

Click here to view the gallery.

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7 octobre 2015 3 07 /10 /octobre /2015 16:45
ASF conference raises questions on ACIRC

 

07 October 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The 2015 conference on the "African Standby Force (ASF): Beyond 2015" stems from a co-operation MoU between the Faculty of the Royal Danish Defence College and the Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University.

The 2013 conference in Dar es Salaam, the third one in the series, featured maritime security off Africa with a post-piracy theme.

 

This year the conference theme coincided with expectations and decisions on the readiness of the ASF and thus the "Beyond 2015" theme, said Professor Francois Vrey of the Military Science Faculty. The expectations of readiness and the emergence of ACIRC (African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises) also underpins dynamics necessitating the beyond 2015 focus of the event.

 

Day One saw an overview of the Peace and Security Architecture of the African Union (AU) including the domains of civilian participation, the rise of maritime security, costs and burden-sharing as well as the viability of the state as a dominant organising concept for all.

 

Keynote speaker from Warwick University (UK) Dr David Anderson emphasised the Peace and Security Architecture of the AU, including the ASF, entailed costs and responsibilities with no avenue to avoid these two matters.

 

The Day Two keynote speaker, Dr Jakkie Cilliers of ISS South Africa, covered the rise of violence and terrorism in Africa from a statistical perspective after which follow-on speakers dealt with each of the five regional entities and their standby arrangements.

 

Of interest was the work done by ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African States) (FOMAC – La Force Multinationale de l’Afrique Centrale) and the NARC (North Africa Regional Capability) in North Africa, two regions not often the focus of discussion. In ECCAS the progress with maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea also caught the attention - a matter generally neglected when regional standby matters are addressed, Vrey pointed out.

 

The inclusion of the AIMS 2050 theme on Day One questioned the general understanding of ASF readiness beyond 2015. Although each region appears to be on its way, but with different modes and at different tempos, to bring the expected standby arrangements to fruition remains complex, particularly the process to move from military standby pledges and readiness towards political authorities and decisions to effect deployment.

 

The morning of Day Three covered ACIRC with a lively exchange of ideas including opinions on its intrusion into the ASF and the violation of the co-operative and consensus culture sought by the AU to that of a viable option to keep in step with rapidly unfolding of violent threats on the continent.

 

It was clear from discussions the matter of ACIRC did not reflect a mature consensus among the speakers and other delegates, Vrey said. While the operational readiness of ACIRC is being pushed forward rather quickly, it appears its deployment principles and political backing remain uncertain.

 

South Africa is a driver behind the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), a precursor to the ASF, which will apparently be established by the beginning of 2016, resulting in no further need for the stopgap ACIRC. Between June and December South Africa will be leading whatever contingent is required to deploy as part of the ACIRC. The final strength of the ACIRC contribution from South Africa will be 1 800 personnel when they finally deploy.

 

Between October 19 and November 7 some 5 000 troops will descend on Lohathla for exercise Amani Africa II. The South African Army said that all AU members from East and West Africa will take part in the exercise while all countries with the exception of the Central African Republic will take part from Central Africa. Members from North Africa will only send staff officers.

 

The envisaged 25 000-strong ASF operating through five regional brigades is expected to be the backbone of the continent’s new peace and security architecture.

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4 mars 2015 3 04 /03 /mars /2015 17:45
Amani Africa ll work session

Amani Africa ll work session

 

04 March 2015 by Kim Helfrich – defenceWeb

 

Lesotho’s political instability has seen South Africa step into the breach to host the next stage of preparation for the much delayed African Standby Force (ASF).

 

The field training exercise Amani Africa ll was originally supposed to have been hosted by Lesotho last October but this was put on hold as a result of political turmoil in that country. South Africa was proposed and accepted as an alternate venue.

 

This saw a four day long technical work session at the Army College in Thaba Tshwane. It started last Thursday and ended on Tuesday.

 

A core planning team composed of an AU (African Union) element and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) came to South Africa’s military capital for the work session. It was led by Major General (ret) Samaila Lliya of Nigeria, Exercise Amani Africa ll Exercise Director. His support team included Brigadier General Paulo Francisco of Angola, Amani Africa ll Chief of Staff.

 

The planning session for Amani Africa ll, set down for the SA Army Combat Training Centre in October/November this year, was chaired by Rear Admiral (JG) Patrick Duze from the SA National Defence Force’s Joint Operations Division. SANDF officers representing the force’s arms of service and divisions also attended.

 

“SADC is hosting the Exercise, originally planned to have been conducted in the Kingdom of Lesotho late last year. Unfortunately, the political and security situation in Lesotho affected implementation of Exercise Amani Africa II timelines. This meant some critical activities planned for the host country to pave the way for the conduct of Amani Africa ll could not be undertaken in 2014 which necessitated a change of date,” Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen of Joint Operations said.

 

“South Africa has offered to host the Amani Africa ll field training exercise. This will pave the way for implementation of the remainder of the exercise cycle activities. SADC has requested the exercise be conducted in October/November.”

 

The planning session saw five main activities successfully undertaken. They were a political strategic retreat; AU, regional economic communities (RECs) and regional member states planning meeting; drafting a main events list and a main incident list; an evaluation seminar and strategic and mission headquarters training sessions.

 

“All objectives set for the technical work session were met and planning is well underway for a purposeful field training exercise that will be conducted efficiently and effectively,” Theunissen said adding the work session was one of the exercise activities that could not be staged in the original host country due to the unstable political situation in the mountain kingdom where voters went to the polls last week.

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17 février 2015 2 17 /02 /février /2015 12:45
Ghana’s military receives donated equipment from Germany

 

11 February 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The Ghana Armed Forces has received 1.5 million euros worth of equipment from Germany and will use the hardware in support of its contribution to the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Standby Force.

 

The equipment was handed over earlier this week by German representative Doris Barnett (on behalf of German ambassador Ruediger John) and included nine Man trucks, two speedboats, vehicle maintenance equipment and at least a couple of Mercedes Benz 4x4s.

 

The equipment was handed over by the German Armed Forces Technical Advisory Group (GAFTAG) at Burma Camp, the headquarters of the Ghana Armed Forces. The GAFTAG has been at the forefront of the Federal Republic of Germany Equipment Aid programme to the Ghana Armed Forces since 2005 and its focus is mainly on supporting the Ghana Engineer Company as they train as part of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Standby Force.

 

The ceremony, attending by high ranking Ghanaian defence officials and various German representatives, also marked the completion by GAFTAG of various infrastructure projects involving the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Technical Training School (EMETTS) and the renovation of various workshops and facilities.

 

The Ghana Armed Forces noted that GAFTAG had also completed the construction of a one storey, seven-classroom building, a 70-man building for student accommodation, an administration block and eight mechanical and electrical workshops, which were commissioned in 2010.

 

The Deputy Minister for Defence, Alex Segbefia, speaking on behalf of Defence Minister Benjamin Kunbuor, said the equipment would help in the fight against terrorism in the region.

 

Barnett said Germany was happy to assist Ghana improve its infrastructure and, with the German Advisory Group, “Ghana has become a pillar of the African Standby Force and this will improve the bilateral relation between Ghana and Germany’.’

 

Barnett is in Ghana as part of a budget committee delegation visiting the country between 8 and 12 February to see first-hand the assistance Germany is providing the West African nation. Germany’s support to Ghana’s military is aimed at strengthening Ghana’s participation in the ECOWAS Standby Force as well as the United Nations and African Union.

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12 février 2015 4 12 /02 /février /2015 18:45
photo Guy Martin - defenceWeb

photo Guy Martin - defenceWeb

 

12 February 2015 by Kim Helfrich - defenceWeb

 

The week starting February 23 will see SANDF Joint Operations headquarters become a hive of high level activity when planning for the African Union Amani Africa II field training exercise gets underway.

 

The exercise was originally set to take place in Lesotho last October but was put on hold due to changes in the mountain kingdom’s political situation. The AU said at the time it hoped to stage the exercise in South Africa in March 2015.

 

A joint communique issued earlier this month by the AU/UN following a joint task force (JTF) meeting of the two bodies in Addis Ababa said South Africa will at some time this year host the Amani Africa ll field training exercise.

 

“The JTF agreed to continue to co-operate in the area of peacekeeping based on the principles of shared responsibility, value addition and complementarity. In this regard, the meeting welcomed the ongoing UN review of peace operations and progress in the operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF) and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC),” the communique stated.

 

Joint Operations Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen told defenceWeb the exercise would take place in October and “the most likely venue” would be the SA Army Combat Training Centre at Lohatla in the Northern Cape.

 

“This is not cast in stone and depending on the requirements decided on for the exercise the location could change to another with infrastructure more suitable for the scenario,” he said, adding the exercise dates would also be finalised during the five day planning session in Thaba Tshwane.

 

Last year the SA National Defence Force’s annual force preparation exercise Seboka at Lohatla took on a different image when it became South Africa’s most visible training preparation yet for the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), a standby force to serve until such time as the long-awaited Au African Standby Force (ASF) can be mobilised and deployed.

 

Indications are the South African exercise will focus on airlift and communication capabilities to and from AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. There are also expected to be smaller tactical exercises with objectives put to troops on the ground during which command and control of forces as well as inter-operability between forces from different countries will be tested.

 

The phrase “Amani Africa” means “peace in Africa” in Kiswahili and is the over-arching name given to exercises aimed at developing the ASF to full operational capability.

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5 février 2015 4 05 /02 /février /2015 19:45
South Africa to host ASF field training exercise this year

 

04 February 2015 by defenceWeb

 

South Africa will, at some time this year, host the Amani Africa ll field training exercise as part of making the AU African Standby Force (ASF) operational.

 

This emerged from a communique issued following the 10th meeting of the AU/UN Joint Task Force (JTF) on Peace and Security in Addis Ababa earlier this month.

 

“The JTF agreed to continue to co-operate in the area of peacekeeping based on the principles of shared responsibility, value addition and complementarity. In this regard, the meeting welcomed the ongoing UN review of peace operations and progress in the operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF) and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC),” the communique stated.

 

The JTF welcomed the full operational capability reached by the East African Standby Force Co-ordinating Mechanism (EASFCOM) in November last year.

 

It also welcomed steps taken towards making the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) operational and what the JTF termed, “the ongoing process of harmonisation of both concepts”.

 

“All concerned are encouraged to take the necessary steps to ensure the full operational capability for the ASF is achieved by 2015,” the communique said, adding there was a need for sustained and focused international support for both forces.

 

“The JTF agreed to work towards the successful holding of the Amani Africa ll field training exercise in South Africa in the course of 2015 and other related activities as well as intensifying strategic and institutional engagement toward enhanced co-ordinated support.”

 

The Amani Africa ll field exercise was originally to have been hosted by Lesotho last year but was delayed following political upheavals. South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa heads a SADC team tasked with bringing political stability back to the landlocked kingdom. No alternative dates or venues have been given for the exercise by the AU Peace and Security Organ.

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