Through more than 100 scenarios emulating experiences in peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic (MUNISCA), around 200 peacekeepers from 11 countries of Africa, Europe and United States (USA) have concluded a successful two-week peacekeeping exercise at Rwanda Military Academy-Gako.
The trainees renewed commitment to protect civilians whenever there is need, keeping in mind that, trouble in your neighbor’s home does not spare you either.
Known as Shared Accord 2018 (SA2018), the military peacekeeping exercise covered different areas including; Command Post Exercise (CPX) and a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDRETE) from August 14th-29th.
Speaking at the closing event, Maj Ketty Chikwekwe of Zambian Defence Force said that the exercise was an amazing experience in the career of any military person since now days it is hard to pretend to be peaceful when neighbors are in trouble.
“Nowdays, you cannot say I am peaceful or my country is peaceful because if your neighbor is not under those peaceful conditions it means you are equally affected,” she said.
“It is very important that we are looking at African problems for African solutions, but it cannot be a reality if we do not train together.”
Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Army Chief of Staff, Lt General Jacques Musemakweli, on the other hand, reminded the participants that the responsibility to protect civilians requires cooperation, coordination, consensus and work in a way that speeds up peacekeepers delivery in complex and unpredictable security environment in armed conflicts.
“As we work together to address the contemporary security threats, these partnerships will ensure that we adopt the right responses to carry out peace operations,” Lt Gen Musemakweli said during his closing remarks.
Gen. Musemakweli also said that Rwanda recognizes the value and potential impact of such an exercise and the future similar ones.
At the end of the training, participants expressed their satisfaction and said that Rwanda was the best choice for the exercise.
“Countries like Rwanda which are at the top of UN contributors to peacekeeping have the experience of working in very tough environments from Juba to Darfur and Bangui,” Brig Gen Lapthe C Flora, Deputy Command General for US Army Africa Command and The Shared Accord 2018 co-director said.
“Officers learned from the particular challenges in working in environments where it is very difficult to help restore authority, to help restore governance and to help protect civilians, which I know is a key goal of Rwandan Constitution and is now the key element of Kigali principle of the responsibility to protect civilians.”
The US Ambassador to Rwanda, Peter H Vrooman asked participants to apply the scenarios learnt in their home countries.
“What you listened to and learnt is something that couldn’t be captured in a book or in academia,” he said.
“We learn from failures, we learn from missed opportunities and we learn from how others do things better than we do and I think that is something this type of exercise really brings together,” he said.
After successfully hosting the Shared Accord 2018, Rwanda was also declared the host of Shared Accord 2019, which will be a field training.