African Standby Force Commences First Military Exercises
Members of the African Union’s new 25,000-strong multinational standby force are gathering to begin field training for the first time.
The exercises in South Africa aim to make sure the force is ready by January to respond to crises across Africa.
The force will be made up of five brigades from Africa’s economic blocs.
The African Standby Force is being set up to avoid reliance on the outside world in peacekeeping across the continent.
The logistical base for the African Standby Force (ASF) will be in Douala in Cameroon following a deal signed last week.
The training begins at the South African Army Combat Training Centre in Lohatla with an opening ceremony on Monday.
The operation, which will last up to 5 November, is intended to help evaluate how ready the force is to respond to crises and monitor peacekeeping missions.
The exercise was meant to be carried out in Lesotho in 2014 but was delayed because of security issues in the country.
The African Union (AU) has become much more willing to intervene in countries over the 15 years.
Once the force was set up, it could be able to go into an AU member country uninvited in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.