ECOWAS Standby Force ready for deployment
Thursday, August 19, 2010
With the complete evaluation of its Task Force, the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Standby Force (ESF) is now ready for full operation.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Col. Mahmane Toure, said in Abuja on Wednesday that the sub-regional group had now shifted its emphasis to building the main brigade of the ESF.
Toure spoke yesterday at the opening of the meeting of commandants of the ECOWAS-designated training centres of excellence located in Nigeria, Ghana and Mali.
The centres – National Defence College (NDC) Nigeria; Kofi Anan International Peace Training Centre (KAIPTC), Ghana; and the Ecole de Maintien de la Paix (EMPABB), Mali – were designated as training centres of excellence with the aim of giving training support for the ESF among others.
According to Toure, the capacity building of the ESF has just received a further boost with the evaluation of its Eastern Battalion in April this year during the exercise ‘Cohesion Benin’ diligently conducted jointly with elements of the Republic of Benin.
On the full takeoff of the ESF, he disclosed: “There was also a command post exercise at the Ghana Armed Forces Staff College Accra with the aim of harmonising the peace support operations package of the college in line with the African conference of commandants of staff colleges’ decision.”
On the continental front, he said: “Preparations are ongoing by the AUC (African Union Commission) peace support operations division for the conduct of a command post-exercise (AMANI AFRICA) in October this year. The ESF, an East African Standby Force, will form the bulk of the staff for the exercise with support from the other regions. There will be more discrimination on these and other training activities in the course of our meeting here in Abuja…”
He lamented, however, that the sub-regional group’s expectations for an AU/EU support meant for centres under reference and other institutions dealing with peace and security operations after the Nairobi meeting in February this year had faced some difficulties. He did not, however, mention the difficulties.
The Commandant of the NDC, Real Admiral Jonah Lokoson, stressed Nigeria’s commitment to the training projects under the ESF. But he reiterated the fact that during the last meeting hosted by KAIPTC in Ghana, it was established that no substantial progress had been recorded in the civilian defence dimension of the PSO in the sub-region judging from exercise ‘Jigui’ which held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
He continued: “It was also observed that the police component was lagging behind and there was also the need for the establishment of a regional database system. There is the need for harmonisation of courses among the training centres to avoid duplication.”
Admiral Lokoson highlighted part of the progress made so far to include the successful completion of the feasibility study for the establishment of a regional database for PSOs.
When the NDC hosted an ECOWAS senior mission leaders course in February through March this year, with financial assistance from the German government and the EU, 24 senior military, police and civilian officers (5 civilian, 11 military and 8 police) were trained in standardised PSO leadership.
On hand for the start of yesterday’s meeting were the Dean, African Centre for Strategic Studies, Dr. I.S Zabadi; Commandant, EMPABB, Jacouba Sidibe (represented by Col. Bakary Kanoute) and Commandant (KAIPTC), Air Vice Marshal Christian Dovlo.
SOURCE: nigeria defence