The Egyptian military started joint counter-terrorism exercises with several African counterparts from the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), Daily News Egypt reported.
Egyptian military spokesperson Tamer Al-Refaie said in a statement that the first phase of the drills, including Sudan, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso, will be held at Egypt’s Mohamed Naguib military base in Marsa Matrouh, the largest in the Middle East and Africa.
The CEN-SAD member states include Libya, the founder, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, the Comoros, Mali, Liberia, Morocco, Tunisia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Gambia, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Benin, Senegal, Togo, Somalia, Niger, Chad, Djibouti, and Sierra Leone.
The first phase will last until 14 December, the statement added. Other phases will take place on different dates and will include other CEN-SAD countries.
Al-Refaie said that it is the first time for such drills to take place, and it comes as part of Egypt’s plans to enhance its relations with “fellow African countries,” in order to train troops on different military tactics.
“It trains the participants forces on the way to deal with different terrorist threats, such as militant groups, freeing hostages, and work as one team with the forces of other friendly states,” the spokesperson said.
On Saturday, Egyptian naval forces carried out joint military drills in the Mediterranean Sea with the participation of British and Italian naval forces. The Egyptian, Italian, and British naval forces took part in the drills, including a number of major vessels, such as the British RFA Lyme Bay.
In October, the Egyptian and Saudi armed forces conducted military drills dubbed ‘Tabuk 4′ in southern Egypt, to bolster military cooperation and ties between the two forces, in order to counter challenges and threats facing them, the statement said.