Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) is among five East African Community (EAC) armed forces that are participating in this year’s two-week-long field training exercise dubbed ‘Ushirikiano Imara 11 2018′ in Tanzania.
Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda are the only participating EAC member states for this year’s exercise in Mlingano, Tanga region, in Tanzania.
The EAC FTX was officially opened by Tanzania Minister of Defence and National service, Dr Hussein Mwinyi.
Dr Hussein Mwinyi said that Tanzania was grateful for the trust EAC member states had vested in them to host the regional rotational exercise.
He further appreciated participating countries for honoring their invitation and support towards making the exercise possible.
“This is a vivid testimony that you have attached considerable importance towards endeavoring East African integration’ said the Minister.
He remarked that by ratifying various Protocols, committing resources and harmonizing actions, East African countries have managed to achieve a lot together.
“The unwavering resolve by our governments to ensure the Community grows even stronger has driven us to committing the much needed resources into the exercise,” said Dr Mwinyi.
He noted that joint EAC exercises enable participants to share knowledge and skills on matters pertaining to defence and security in the region and therefore increase individuals’ ability to discharge their responsibilities.
“Current security challenges facing one partner state are almost the same facing the other EAC states. And in some cases, they are hatched from the same source given the geographical settings therein”.
Th 2018 EAC FTX is the eleventh in a series and therefore accumulated lessons learnt from previous exercises will automatically feature in the exercise focusing mainly on effective measures required to prevent and speedily respond to security situations in the region.
Participants have been drawn from a wide range of institutions including the Military, Police service, Prisons services, Immigration, Intelligence services, Counter Terrorism, Ministries of Health, Environment and disaster management, Humanitarian agencies.
“This is evidence that you have adopted a very contemporary and realistic perception of security, for today’s security challenges,” Dr Mwinyi.
Rear Admiral Mutayoba Makezo the exercise director remarked that the exercise commenced with a four days Clinic exercise to prepare the 1357 participants taking part in the exercise in Tanga Tanzania.
Uganda is represented by 217 participants that include 163 UPDF, 35 UPF, 17 Civilian personnel and 02 UPS.
Representing UPDF’s CDF Gen David Muhoozi at the opening ceremony, Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Lt Gen Wilson Mbadi Mbusa noted that the aim of the exercise is to jointly train and exercise participants on joint planning and conduct of operations necessary to resolve arising crisis in the region.
He stressed that the joint annual rotational exercise is aimed at inoperability and testing the capabilities of predeployments of EAC forces during Peace keeping and enforcement missions aimed at combating complex security challenges in the region.
The D/CDF said that Uganda will host next year’s EAC-CPX 2019 and EAC-FTX 2020.