Posted by: APO | 21 June 2008

ECOWAS gets a boost as military exercise ends in Bamako

ECOWAS gets a boost as military exercise ends in Bamako

BAMAKO, Mali, June 21, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The ECOWAS Command Post Exercise, code-named Jigui 2008, designed to assess the capability of the ECOWAS Task Force Headquarters of the regional Standby Force has ended with organizers and partners expressing satisfaction over the overall performance of the participants.

At a press conference to end the seven-day exercise at the Ecole de Maintien de la Paix Alioune Blondin Beye (Peacekeeping School) in Bamako, Mali on Friday, 20th June 2008, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Col. Mahamane Toure, said the exercise had enabled ECOWAS to appropriately evaluate the operational readiness of the Task Force Headquarters.


Col. Toure who was supported at the press conference by the Chief of Defence Staff of Mali, Gen. Gabriel Poudiougou, the Commander of the French Forces of Cape Verde based in Dakar, Gen. Philippe Bonnet and the ECOWAS Director of Security, Gen. Charles Okae who was the Exercise Director, said that Jigui 2008 also enabled participants to assess the ability of the headquarters staff to manage the communication links necessary for peacekeeping operations.


He said the credibility of the exercise would encourage similar programmes at different levels, all of which are designed to prepare the troops of the ECOWAS Standby Force tactically, strategically and logistically. The exercises will be held later this year and in 2009.

In his contribution, Gen. Bonnet of the French Forces in Dakar said that France and other partners were delighted that the exercise, which achieved the set objectives, could be described as “highly credible” and a success.


The Jigui 2008 exercise, the first to be organized by ECOWAS, included a Malian Logistic Sub-Command, a Nigerian East Sub Command and a Senegalese West Sub Command as well as staff of the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja. It also included police, gendarmerie and civilian components to test the force’s operational procedures. Prominent among the civilians were the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the media.

Also for the first time, the regional force exercise involved the African Union, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the multinational Standby High Readiness Brigade based in Denmark (SHIRBRIG) and the Ethiopia-based Eastern African Standby Force (EASTBRIG).


Jigui 2008 is consistent with previous training programmes of ECOWAS and is within the framework of the African Union (AU) Standby Force, which seeks to have ready by 2010 one force by each of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa. The ECOWAS target is to create a 2,770-man Task Force of the 6,500 troops of the regional force which will be available under the control of the AU.


Military training preceding the Bamako exercise include a Command Post Exercise aimed at training the Task Force staff in June 2006 in Dakar, another Command Post Exercise in December 2007 in Accra and the West Battalion Exercise code named DEGGO 27 which took place in December 2007 in Thies, Senegal.


All the exercises were supported by the host governments as well as France, Denmark, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union.


SOURCE : Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)


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