JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The U.S. military has begun an exercise in the African nation of Gabon with personnel from 25 African countries to improve command and control between forces for possible peacekeeping or anti-terrorism missions, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Some 200 personnel are participating in the Africa Endeavor exercise that tests abilities of African militaries to communicate with each other, Vince Crawley, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, told The Associated Press.
Africom, as the command is known, is sponsoring the exercise and much of the instruction is done by U.S. military personnel based in Europe and the United States, said Eric S. Elliott, another U.S. military spokesman.
"The overall objective is to achieve a level of communications interoperability and compatibility that will allow partner nations to successfully conduct future multinational operations," Elliott said.
Guinea, whose military forces fired on pro-democracy demonstrators Monday, killing more than 150 people, was not participating, the spokesmen said.
Africom, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, was formally activated last October. Before then, U.S. military programs in Africa were split among three other commands.
Work continues at the Soccer City Stadium on the edge of Soweto, south of Johannesburg, Wednesday Sept. 30, 2009. FIFA officials say stadiums being built for 2010 are close to completion and preparations for Africa's first football World Cup are proceeding well. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)