The Eastern Africa Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) began its first military exercises in Djibouti on Sunday.
In addition to host Djibouti, nine other members of the brigade, such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Comoros, Seychelles, Burundi and Rwanda are taking part in the drills while Eritrea, Mauritius and Madagascar are absent.
The Prime Minister of Djibouti Dileita Mohamed Dileita flagged off these exercises during a troops review ceremony organized at the Djibouti army Balballa site in a suburb of the capital.
Named FTX 09, the five-day military exercises will take place in the southern part of the country on 300 sq km covering the Arta, Holl-Holl and Ali-Sabieh areas.
Military sources claimed that though the ceremony was held on Sunday, the real military operations will begin on the ground on Tuesday.
Such drills seek among others to strengthen mutual understanding and interoperability between the armed forces from member states of the East Africa Standby Brigade.
The operation gathers officially some 1,900 men in uniform.
In his speech, the Djibouti Prime Minister said these manoeuvres showcase how much the construction of the EASBRIG has become effective and operational.
He added that this is great pride for us Africans, for it shows the political and cultural maturity of peoples of the countries involved.
In connection with these military exercises, the staff of the Djiboutian Armed Forces (ADF) denied last Tuesday misinformation that three Ugandan soldiers died in a road accident in Djibouti.
The SDF spokesman Lieutenant Bahnan Maidal Ali told APA that a Ugandan officer was killed and three others were injured in an accident last Thursday on National Highway 1 at 23km from Djibouti city, the capital.
The Ugandan officer who died is Major Kahangye Sebastian of the Armed Forces of Uganda. He came in Djibouti to participate in the FTX 09 exercises.
Source African Press Agency