8 July 2015
A Southern African Development Community (SADC) standby force could soon be a reality, as a Special Forces planning conference in Kariba, Zimbabwe looks into the final logistics of its establishment, according to a report.
Zimbabwe’s The Herald newspaper reported yesterday that the conference, which was attended by 66 delegates from the region, was also looking at mapping training exercises set to start next month.
The exercises would help to mould a SADC Special Force, which would also contribute to the African Union standby force, the report said.
The idea of the SADC Special Force was mooted in 2007 after regional countries resolved to contribute troops to defend member states from revolts and aggression.
“The primary aim of training of this magnitude is centred on the need to build a highly trained and robust SADC Special Forces component that is capable of countering modern day threats whenever it is required,” Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, chief of staff administration in the Zimbabwean army, was quoted as saying.
Training exercises had already been held in Angola and Namibia, the report said.
This comes as SADC tackles political problems in Lesotho, Madagascar and Democratic Republic of Congo.
As Africa moves to bolster its security, media reports in May said a continental peacekeeping force was on the way; 54 African countries met in Zimbabwe early this year to assess progress made towards its establishment.
The idea of the African Standby Force was first mooted in 2008, with December as the deadline for setting it up.
The military force would be responsible for maintaining peace and stability on the continent and to intervene in regional hotspots.