Rwanda ton host EAC fully fledged defence exercise

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By Robert Mugabe

Kigali, Rwanda-Five East African member states are to hold fully fledged army exercise in Rwanda sponsored by EAC and Rwanda, Great Lakes Voice reports.

Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are to contribute to more than 1600 soldiers for the exercise which will begin from October 14. The exercise is the second of its kind. Kilimanjaro exercise was the first and now the army will be available for “ushirikiano imara” (loosely translated as Firm Cooperation)

“This is different from usual military exercises we have been carrying on like Command posts, which have been going as a part of joint exercises in our respective member states. This exercise will be a full military of the nature,” Monique Mukaruriza, Rwanda’s Minister of East African affairs said

The exercise will take place at Gako military academy and Lake Kivu. Though, it’s not yet clear if the training would involve marine exercise but what’s known to great Lakes Voice, is that the training would also take place at Lake Kivu which borders Rwanda and DRC.

An official in Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) said Kenya would send a small number of forces than the required number from each member states due to AMISOM deployment, ready to take Kismayo in three weeks from now.

October 21, 2011 Rwanda hosted more than 300 officers from the EAC Partner States Defense Forces in a joint command post exercise conducted at the Rwanda Military Academy at Nyakinama, Musanze District and will involving civilians and military personnel.

EAC defence representatives are also attending International Conference on Great Lakes (ICGLR) in Kampala discussing the possible and feasible way of finding a permanent solution to DRC-M23 standoff.

Burundi remains the only country to host any military exercise in the EAC member states

These exercises are underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Defense which lays down four areas of cooperation namely: military training; joint operations; technical assistance; and visits (including sporting exchanges and range competitions as well as visits by the Chiefs of Defense) and exchange of information. The MOU was signed in 1998 and revised in 2001, according to Mukaruriza.

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