ADDIS ABEBA – Amid U.S.’s plan to scale back its military budget in Africa, its military commanders have pledged to continue supporting African governments in their efforts to secure and stabilize the continent.
The eighth Africa Land Forces Summit in Ethiopia has brought top U.S. military commanders together with their counterparts in Africa.
The military officials have discussed ways of protecting African countries from violence and instability during the summit under a theme ‘Tomorrow’s Security Demands Leadership Today’.
African countries are facing challenges from various major terrorist groups including Boko Haram and al-Shabab after their influence in recent times show an increase.
The US commanders, attending this week’s summit in Addis Abeba, said they will continue to cooperate with their African counterparts in a bid to defeat these security threats.
“We will support you through security cooperation, training, exercises and engagements,” said Roger Cloutier, Major General at U.S. Army Africa Command or Africom.
“We are being allocated a Security Force Assistance Brigade to support train advise and assist missions in Africa. This good news,” Cloutier said, adding that it was “a testament to our commitment to partner with your forces today and in the future”.
This week’s annual summit of Africa Land Forces was attended by representatives from 42 countries to share their experiences in dealing with violence and the need to cooperate in dealing with emerging threats.
Africom currently gives support to about a dozen African countries fight against terror groups.
This, however, could decrease after the current U.S. administration’s decision to scale back its military operations, according to the Voice of America.
Security experts see the decision as a step back in the fight against terror groups in the continent.
Cloutier assured African military leaders the U.S. was not abandoning them.
He said the recent review is focused on making sure that the resources the command have in Africa are in line with the national defense strategy.
“We are trying to make sure that we are efficient with our resources,” he told VOA on Thursday. “So the bottom line is the United States is not walking away from Africa. We are committed, and we remain engaged.”
By Sisay Sahlu