Exercise Blue Kunene has no hostile intentions:Ya Ndakolo
OSHAKATI, 24 AUG (NAMPA) – Defence Minister Penda Ya Ndakolo said Thursday the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) air forces’ military exercise called ‘Blue Kunene’ has no hostile intentions or hidden agendas, but is aimed at building regional military capability.
Speaking at the official launch of Blue Kunene at Oshakati in the Oshana Region, Ya Ndakolo said the exercise will eventually strengthen the African Standby Force.
The SADC Air Forces, Air Arms and Air Wings from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and host Namibia are conducting the military exercise from the 20 August to 07 September.
The exercise involves more than 1 200 military personnel from these countries and affects the areas from Ondangwa, Ruacana, Opuwo and Okangwati.
“The Air Force, the Air Arms and Air Wings from within the SADC Region have assembled here today as a single unit to exercise and prepare for eventualities,” Ya Ndakolo said.
According to Ya Ndakolo, the exercise seeks to enhance the already high level of interconnectedness and interoperability in preparation for rapid deployment capability.
Rapid deployment capability, Ya Ndakolo explained, was already developed through other exercises such as Exercise Blue Clutter hosted by South Africa in 2011, Exercise Blue Zambezi hosted by Angola in 2013 and Exercise Blue Kavango hosted by Botswana in 2015.
The Namibian Air Force has participated in all the previous exercises.
“By the end of the exercise, we foresee operational lessons being conducted for future exercises and most importantly to further develop the SADC Strategic Airlift Concept.”
He went on to say Exercise Blue Kunene is expected to distribute over 400 tons of food aid in the Kunene Region in constituencies of Opuwo Rural, Epupa and Sesfontein.
The exercise will additionally conduct medical outreach programmes in the form of screening and treatment of various ailments of the population of the Kunene Region.