Mozambican-U.S. joint military exercise
Maputo, Mozambique (UPI) Aug 4, 2010
Mozambique and the United States are staging joint Shared Accord Exercises 2010 military exercise.
The Shared Accord Exercises 2010 is being conducted in Mozambique's southern Moamba province district, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique reported Tuesday.
A Mozambique Defense Ministry news release from Mozambique's Defense Ministry stated that Shared Accord Exercises will run Aug. 12 and is designed to strengthen Mozambique's peace keeping operations capacities and emergency humanitarian assistance techniques.
More than 1,000 U.S. service members and Mozambican soldiers are participating in Shared Accord 2010, which is coordinated by U.S. Africa Command's Marine component.
U.S. Marine Forces Africa. Lt. Col. Andrew Olson, defense attache at the U.S. Embassy in Mpauto said: "This exercise is part of a solid, long-term, multi-faceted partnership between the U.S. and Mozambican militaries. Hundreds of members of both our armed forces will participate together in various types of military training, including command post, live-fire training, and peace operations, as well as sharing their experience.
"We are confident that this exercise will help develop Mozambique's capabilities to offer additional security for its neighbors, keep Mozambique itself more free from threats to its own security, such as illegal fishing, trafficking in drugs or other illegal activities, or even the threat of piracy, and enhance its ability to effectively fight against poverty here at home."
Besides the military exercise, troops will also jointly provide free medical and dental care to three local communities and rehabilitate two schools.
Shared Accord is an annually scheduled, combined, bilateral U.S.-partner nation event, which has previously been hosted by Benin, Ghana and Senegal. This year is the first time Mozambique has been the site of the exercise, designed to build partner nation capacity for conducting peace and stability operations, according to U.S. Marines Capt. Kate Vanden Bossche, public affairs officer for the Shared Accord exercise.
The Shared Accord operation is being coordinated for the U.S. AFRICOM Command by its Marine component, U.S. Marine Forces Africa. Members of the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Army are also providing support for Shared Accord 2010. Following conclusion of the exercise participating U.S. servicemen will return to their home bases in Europe and the United States.
According to AFRICOM, aircraft maintenance issues in the United States meant that the full advance team with heavy equipment operators and engineers, wouldn't arrive in time to conduct the first part of their mission and deliver the 262 vehicles and equipment, including Humvees, 7-Tons and bulldozers scheduled to participate, which were subsequently sent to Maputo by sea and offloaded from the Liberian-flagged ship Beluga Fusion.
earlier related report
Officials announced on Monday that the civilian government had agreed to ask a stabilisation mission involving several regional bodies to deploy in the small and poor west African country.
The army chiefs of staff met on Wednesday to discuss the move.
"We don't oppose the arrival of a peacekeeping force, only that it will all be done by the rulebook," a military source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"I mean that the documents (should) be submitted to the National Assembly and promulgated by the president of the republic," the source said.
"We would also like to know the mandate and structure of the said force to better appreciate and position ourselves."
Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony which won independence in 1974, has been dogged by cycles of political and military violence in which the army has played an important part.
Current president Malam Bacai Sanha was elected in July 2009 after his predecessor, Joao Bernardo Vieira, was assassinated by soldiers in April 2009.
On April 1, 2010, a general, Antonio Indjai, overthrew the head of the army, Jose Zamora Induta, and captured the prime minister, who was released after death threats.
Soares Sambu, spokesman for the National Defence Council, told AFP earlier that the foreign mission "will be a stabilisation mission and not a force in the proper sense of the term".
The National Defence Council is a consultative panel on questions of defence and security that is attached to Sanha's cabinet.
The mission will include members from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the African Union, Sambu said.
Its "role will be very precise, particularly to help Guinea-Bissau to regain its stability," Sambu added, noting that formalities still had to be completed before the team could start its work.
The mission would also be involved in fighting drugs trafficking, another source said. Its size and other details have not yet been established.
The European Union said meanwhile Monday it was ending a military reform mission to Guinea-Bissau in protest at the appointment of the general behind an April mutiny as the new army chief.
"Political instability and the lack of respect for the rule of law in the country make it impossible for the EU to deploy a follow-up mission, as originally foreseen, without compromising its own principles," it added.
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