The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is, according to a report from Zimbabwe, moving closer to establishing its own standby force.
An SADC Special Forces conference is currently taking place in Kariba with “at least 66 delegates from the region” present, The Herald reported. It will finalise logistics and mapping of training exercises under the code name Mahombekombe. This is scheduled to start next month.
The exercise will help mould a SADC Special Force which will contribute to the region’s standby force and subsequently the AU standby force.
The Herald said the regional force has already held exercises in Angola and Namibia with another planning conference held at Kariba in May this year.
Speaking at the official opening of the conference, Chief of Staff Administration Staff, Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba said training of SADC Special Forces remained a priority for a SADC standby force.
“The primary aim of training of this magnitude is centred on the need to build a highly trained and robust SADC Special Forces component capable of countering modern day threats,” the paper reports him as saying.
“It enables crafting of a standardised tactical doctrine to achieve inter-operability and develop a common region concept of operation.”
Speaking about events in Lesotho where a retired army general was shot and killed, Nyikayaramba said it was being handled at the political level.
“Lesotho remains a political issue which is better addressed by our defence ministers.
“We take directives and instructions on what our principals want us to do, but ourselves (SADC Special Forces) should not be found wanting and this is why these training activities are critical.”
The Kariba conference is expected to come up with confirmed positions on contributions, routes and final co-ordination of all activities to be conducted during the field training programme.
This will see presentations made by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority on animal behaviour because soldiers will be operating in “the rugged and animal infested terrain of Kariba” and will assist in improving their state of preparedness.
The conference culminates in the signing of the Status of Force agreement by all participating SADC member states