THE Eastern African Community (EAC) Armed Forces exercise, dubbed “Ushirikiano Imara 2023,” commenced on Monday at the Rwanda Defence Force Command and Staff College in Musanze.
The exercise aimed at addressing the ever fragile and unpredictable state of global human security, brought together over 300 participants from Five EAC countries namely Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and the host Nation Rwanda.
The Rwanda Minister for Defence, Juvenal Marizamunda, who was the Guest of Honour in the opening ceremony of the exercise, emphasised the urgency of concerted efforts to confront the challenges of terrorism, piracy, disaster management, peace and security in the East African Region.
Minister Marizamunda acknowledged the persistent presence of recurring conflicts, particularly those with cross-border and asymmetric characteristics, that continue to plague the region.
“Our region’s operating environment remains one of the most affected areas with recurring conflicts, many of which are cross-border and asymmetric in nature,” Minister Marizamunda told over 600 participants from five countries in the East African Community.
Marizamunda stated that contemporary security challenges have shown that no individual nation can operate in isolation.
“I am aware that this exercise is based on peace support operations, which is one among the range of activities undertaken by the United Nations, African Union, and regional initiatives to maintain international peace and security,” he stated.
“Maximise the benefits of this golden opportunity, share whatever you think is beneficial to the participants and learn as much as you can from your colleagues, especially those from different professions. I have no doubt that the conduct of Ushikiriano 2023 will be successful and rewarding.”
According to Maj Gen Ali Mzee Katimbe, representative of the EAC, the exercise will mainly focus on four areas of cooperation: Military training, joint operations, technical operations and visits, and the exchange of information.
The two-week exercise, held under the theme “Strengthening the Security Sector Integration and Harnessing Common Interests Consistent with EAC Regional Peace and Stability,” seeks to foster collaboration and enhance the defence capabilities of participating nations.