Mr Michael Bittrick, the Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Security Affairs, Bureau of African Affairs, has announced that his government supported the training of about 27,000 African peacekeepers in 2017.
Bittrick made the disclosure in a transcript of a teleconference on “UN Peacekeeping Course for African Partners,’’ with Journalists across Africa.
“The U.S. recognizes that the African Union and regional economic communities and, yes, national states, are responding and supporting these security requirements.
“We have helped 20 African countries build their peacekeeping
institutional capabilities to train, deploy, and sustain peacekeepers through the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance Programme, and as noted by my colleague, the Global Peace Operations Initiative.
“Last year, such efforts supported the training of more than 27,000 African peacekeepers, going to UN and AU missions.
“This support, we see, has produced results. Africa today provides more special representatives, more force commanders, and more deployed peacekeepers than ever before,’’ he said.
Bittrick said that the number of peacekeepers had after ten years
increased from 40 per cent to as high as 70 per cent currently.
He described the development as a true sign of “African ownership,’’ adding that the U.S. was pleased to be working with India and other partners in supporting African responses.
The U.S. official, however, said that the human rights record of Nigerian forces was being examined before providing them any support in counter-terrorism or peacekeeping training.
“The security engagement by the U.S. is meant to ensure better responsiveness from Nigerian troops and the Police.
“This is in regard to their engagement with local civilian communities and ensure that they have the best training, tactics,
techniques, and procedures, so that the possibilities of abuse are mitigated or minimised,’’ he said.
Peacekeeping is the activity of preventing war, violence, or potential conflict, especially using armed forces, Police and civillian personnel not involved in a disagreement to prevent fighting.
International peacekeepers have been deployed in various parts of the world, including Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East on such assignments