Military Chiefs, policy makers and academia are converged at the Rwanda Defence Force Command and Staff College to review African security challenges that threaten stability of the continent.
The sixth National Security Symposium themed ‘Contemporary Security Challenges: The African Perspective’ is attended by military officers studying at the College.
The Forum will impart the officers with skills to identity and map measures for the conflicts on the continent.
Opening the three-day forum, Rwanda defense minister Gen James Kabarebe said it will be an opportunity for the college students to understand “real life security challenges” that affect “our profession”.
“Many countries in Africa have persistently experienced security problems as a result of armed conflicts, terrorism, bad governance and transnational crimes…,” said Kabarebe.
“These and other human-security related problems in the region and other parts of Africa require appropriate response mechanisms from within the regions or continent before seeking support elsewhere.”
He added: “By end of the symposium, you will not only have gained the requisite knowledge and skills, but you will have also sharpened your awareness and readiness in your quest for better performance on the field, with clarity and understanding of the geopolitical nature of contemporary security challenges on the [continent].”
Speaking on the sidelines of the symposium, former Nigerian foreign minister, who has also served in several UN appointments, Prof Ibrahim Gambari singled out Somalia and Nigeria’s problem with militants that have killed thousands and abducted hundreds in repeated attacks.
He said African governments must urgently address the “non-military issues” such as unemployment that is leaving millions of youth at the mercy of militia groups that recruit them.
“African countries do not spend enough time addressing the root causes of conflict…the remedy should be prevention, prevention, prevention,” said Gambari, who was Nigeria UN envoy to Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Speakers on the panel discussions lined up include Rwanda army Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, Kenyan law academic Prof P.L.O Lumumba and former African development Bank Chief Dr Donald Kaberuka.
US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) is also represented.
The students attending the last segment of their one-year course at the college come from Czech Republic, Ghana, Rwanda, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal and Zambia.