Zimbabwe Demining Training
|3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)|
PATCH BARRACKS, Stuttgart-Vaihingen - 9 June 1999
Ten U.S. soldiers have deployed to Zimbabwe to train that country's soldiers to conduct demining.
Eight members of the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.,
Assisted by two surveyors assigned to the U.S. European Command, will train Zimbabwe soldiers in August and September 99 on techniques for minefield survey, mine clearance, and advanced medical training.
Zimbabwe has established a National Demining Organization, and has already completed one round of demining taught by Special Forces soldiers.
Minefields in Zimbabwe are a legacy of that country's pre-majority rule military campaigns aagainst black nationalists.
Zimbabwe signed the Ottawa Agreement in 1996, and announced a ban on the manufacture, sale, and use of anti-personnel mines in May 1997.
"Almost four years ago, I called for the global elimination of land mines," President Bill Clinton said, at the 1998 Washington Conference on Humanitarian Demining. "Not only have we destroyed millions of mines in our arsenal and banned their export, but we have also provided a substantial share of the global resources for humanitarian demining."
Updated 23 February 2000
African Crisis Response Initiative
The ACRI is a multi-lateral training initiative intended to work cooperatively with both African and non-African countries.
The goal is to increase interoperability among African militaries in their support of humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.
The initiative calls for the limited delivery of non-lethal equipment such as radios, generators, and individual soldier equipment.
Once equipment is available, U.S. trainers deploy and conduct a training program tailored to each country’s needs.
There is no intention of creating a standing African force.
Last July, members of the 3rd Special Forces Group conducted Phase I training in Uganda and Senegal, in September they conducted training in Malawi, and in January they trained soldiers in Mali.
Additionally, ACRI training for Ethiopia and Ghana will be conducted in 1998.
The initial training program is focused on peacekeeping skills.
The training is designed to enhance basic soldier and junior leader skills, improve combat support and combat service support capabilities, develop battalion staffs capable of conducting multi-echelon operations, and eventually, develop a brigade or joint task force headquarters capable of conducting multi-national operations.
Follow-on sustainment training focused on staff development and logistics training, and regional exercises will be conducted to ensure ACRI trained units maintain proficiency.
An additional benefit of exposure to the U.S. military through the ACRI program is the potential for shaping the African environment by promoting professional apolitical militaries, creating respect for human rights, and providing a strong example of the role of the military in a democracy.
The ACRI will prepare both African and U.S. militaries for future operations in Africa by providing the knowledge and relationships necessary to respond to crises and humanitarian situations in Africa.
To date, six African nations have committed to raise seven battalions for use by the ACRI.
The number of operations we conduct each year in Africa makes success of the ACRI particularly important. For example, during the past year we deployed and were prepared to conduct Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEOs) from Zaire and Congo-Brazzaville, and successfully conducted a NEO in Sierra Leone.
In these NEOs, thousands of Americans and third-country nationals were moved to safety during crisis periods.
Seventy-five percent of our operations requiring standup of a joint task force occurred in Africa.
Zimbabwe President praises U.S. demining effort
President Robert Mugabe complimented United States and European Union efforts to support humanitarian demining.
Zimbabwe signed the Ottawa Agreement in 1996, and announced a ban on the manufacture, sale and use of anti-personnel mines in May 1997.