Ex Ushirikiani Imara underway in Rwanda

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The 13th East African Community (EAC) regional field training exercise, Ushirikiani Imara (building strong relationships) 2024, is underway in Rwanda’s Bugesera district of the country’s Eastern Province.

The host country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has it the exercise involves military, police and civilian components under the theme “Strengthening security sector integration and harnessing common interests consistent with EAC regional peace and stability”.

In addition to land-based training exercises at and around the Rwanda Military Academy in Bugesera there is also a maritime element taking place in Rubavu district.

The exercise aims to enhance the state of readiness and inter-operability of EAC partner states’ armed forces and police as well as civilian components, such as non-governmental organisations (NGs) and other stakeholders in responding to complex and multi-dimensional security challenges.

Officially launching Ushirikiani Imara 2024, Rwandan Defence Minister Juvenal Marizamunda emphasised the need for regional collaboration in the light of what he termed “contemporary security challenges”.

“The importance of security in regional integration cannot be overstated. Indeed, no country can confront contemporary security challenges single-handedly. It is therefore essential for countries to come together as a region to address these security challenges collectively,” he is reported as saying.

According to Exercise Director, Major General Andrew Kagame, Ushirikiani Imara will enhance inter-operability and co-operation among the armed forces of EAC member states, develop and refine capabilities in responding to regional security threats, including peace support operations (PSOs), counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and disaster management”. It will further foster mutual understanding and trust among forces, strengthening the bonds uniting the nations.

EAC countries taking part are Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and host Rwanda.

The exercise started on 6 June and is set to finish on 26 June.