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Nigerian Contingent to African Union Standby Force Returns

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The Nigerian Contingent of the African Union Standby Force (ASF) consisting of 41 officers and soldiers arrived the country on Tuesday after a 2week intensive training in Peace-Keeping at the South African Army Combat Training Centre in Lohatlan.

Receiving the contingent on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, Commodore Uche Onyia explained that the ASF is a unifying and standing force that has the mandate to respond to insecurity and emergency situations in African continent. 

He emphasised that the establishment of the ASF would not collapse other existing intervention forces in different countries but rather intervene in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and also monitor peacekeeping missions in the continent.

Explaining the pivotal role the Nigerian military has played at fostering peace in the past, he described the training as a huge step towards achieving peace and security in Africa. He reaffirmed the country’s commitment to peace and making the continent conducive for all.

He used the opportunity to convey the CDS’ appreciation to the Nigerian Air Force for airlifting the contingent to and fro South Africa and equally commended members of the contingent for their exemplary conduct. 

“The reports reaching the CDS while you were in South Africa was that you gave a good account of yourselves and made the country proud”, he said.

In his remark, the leader of the contingent, Col Joseph Amadasun pointed out that the 2week field exercise was an intensive field training exercise which had to do with “operationalisation” of the standby force.

The group consisted of 5,000 troops from Angola, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. 

He intimated that the establishment of the ASF was an effort by the AU to bring the member states together to work out modalities to tackle insecurity in the region.

It also evaluated the force’s operational readiness to respond to crises and monitor peace keeping missions.

The ASF is an initiative of the AU established to reduce reliance of African countries on external assistance for conflict resolution. 

The Constitutive Act of the ASF gives the Union the right to intervene in a member country uninvited in cases of grave circumstances, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. 

Other objectives of the ASF were to enable the AU observe and monitor missions, other types of peace support operations and provide proactive deployment to prevent dispute or conflict from escalating. 

It would also forestall violence from spreading to neighbouring states as well as curb the resurgence of violence.

The task before the ASF, among others will include post conflict disarmament and demobilization, as well as provide humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the civilian populace in conflict areas and during natural disasters.

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