United States Africa Command cancels military exercise due to Covid-19
CAPE TOWN - The United States Africa Command said on Tuesday it had cancelled its African Lion military exercise over concerns about the fast-spreading Covid-19 coronavirus.
African Lion was scheduled to take place from March 23 to April 4 in Morocco, Tunisia, and Senegal.
The U.S. Africa Command, one of eleven unified combatant commands of the U.S. armed forces which is responsible for fighting regional conflicts and maintaining military relations with African nations, had previously said the exercise would merely be scaled back in light of Covid-19.
"After careful consideration and coordination with exercise participants and African host nation partners ... African Lion 2020 has been cancelled," it said in its latest statement.
"Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to cancel the exercise was made based on international travel restrictions associated with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and to minimize the risk of exposure to U.S. and partner nation service members."
According to sub-Saharan Africa online news site Africa Times, the exercise would have involved over 5,000 personnel from Egypt and Mauritania Canada, Australia, Spain and several other European countries.
The US Africa Command said while this year's exercise had been cancelled, planning for the 2021 event had already commenced.
"US Africa Command continues to work with international allies and African partners to enhance stability and security on the continent," it said.African News Agency