African Standby Force exercise in Lesotho postponed until March


The Amani field training exercise (FTX) for the AU African Standby Force (ASF) planned for next month has been postponed to March next year.

“Exercise Amani Africa will be executed live with the command of the envisaged ASF tested as well as the capability to mobilise forces over Africa to a specific location. The focus of the exercise will be on airlift and communication capabilities to and from AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
“There will also be smaller tactical exercises with objectives put to troops on the ground during which command and control of forces as well as inter-operability between forces from different countries will be tested,” said SA National Defence Force (SANDF) director: corporate communications Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga.

According to the AU Peace and Security website the exercise, part of its ongoing Amani Africa 11 training cycle, is set to take place in Lesotho next month. The phrase “Amani Africa” means “peace in Africa” in Kiswahili and is the over-arching name given to exercises aimed at developing the ASF to full operational capability by next year.

South Africa will provide personnel for various posts including liaison officers, higher and lower level evaluators and manning medical posts for the Lesotho part of the exercise as well as a small detachment of officers for the exercise command structure.
“Infantry, signals and the associated equipment will also be deployed as part of Amani which is planned to start on March 16 and finish on April 3.”

Mabanga said Lesotho was selected as host nation for the exercise adding “if the political situation there is of such a nature the exercise cannot be conducted a different host country will be chosen”. His comment is in reference to the weekend coup in the mountain kingdom.

With that part of the continental body’s preparedness to assist in conflict situations now seven months away the South African focus for peacekeeping and conflict resolution is firmly on the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Northern Cape.

The 2014 iteration of Exercise Seboka started on Monday as preparation for participation in the AU African Capability for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) force. Traditionally Seboka has been an exercise testing preparedness for a conventional warfare situation.
“Seboka 2014 is an opportunity for SANDF elements to simulate contributions to ACIRC,” Mabanga said.