With the memory still fresh of a South Sudan ambush that saw one South African soldier killed and two others wounded in October last year, Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) members were sure to have paid particular attention to the convoy operations part of an ACOTA (African Contingency Operations Training Assistance) mentoring exercise in Djibouti in late 2012.
ACOTA, funded and managed by the United States Department of State, is designed to improve the capabilities of African militaries.
In addition to convoy operations, Ugandan soldiers also received training in marksmanship, security patrols, defending a position, deliberate attack and the correct procedures for entering and clearing rooms.
The exercise was presented by the Kentucky Army National Guard’s Second Battalion, 138th field Artillery Regiment and, according to AfriCom, was a further demonstration of the Combined Joint Task force – Horn of Africa’s continued commitment to ACOTA.
“The mentorship between the US and Ugandan forces was conducted to prepare the UPDF 11th Battle Group for deployment to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM),” Sergeant First Class Timothy Crump said.
“They were receptive to ACOTA training and our mentorship and learnt a lot. We saw them improve all round in skills and leadership. The Ugandans were open to suggestions and responded positively to training.
“All were eager to show their abilities to execute with 110% effort. While working one-on-one they gave their full attention and were keen to apply training to different scenarios.”
Since 1997, the US has provided training and non-lethal equipment through ACOTA to more than 215 000 peacekeepers from African partner militaries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.