Zambia’s peacekeepers for S/Sudan, CAR

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Zambia armed forces. Africa Review photo.

Zambia Defence forces will deploy 821 peacekeeping troops to South Sudan and Central African Republic soon.

At the graduation ceremony at the Nanking army battle training area in the capital, Lusaka, deputy Army commander Major General Jackson Miti announced the plan deployment.

He praised the US and the UK governments for the supporting the training of troops set for deployment next month.

Zambia Air Force staff will also be deployed to South Sudan while the Army brigade will head to CAR.

The US and UK trained battalion will be Zambia’s third group of soldiers taking part in the UN-led mission for peace in CAR.

US ambassador Eric Schultz said previous Zambian troops had established a reputation as well- trained, reliable and professional peacekeeping battalion in CAR.

“The protective equipment donated by the United States includes ballistic vests, helmets, uniforms, boots and other gear essential to Zambia’s deploying forces,” said Mr Schultz.

The British High Commissioner, Mr Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, said the military played a pivotal role in various conflict-affected places.

The British peace support team based in South Africa provided six military instructors to the training in Zambia that lasted 10 weeks.

CAR has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960.

The country plunged into turmoil in 2013 when Muslim rebels from the Seleka umbrella group seized power in the majority Christian country.

A band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-balaka, rose up to counter the Seleka.

Seleka handed power to a transitional government in 2014 under international pressure, but months of violence followed and the country was effectively partitioned, in spite of the presence of a UN peacekeeping force and a French mission.

Source: Africa Review


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