Africa Defense Forum
ADF is a professional military magazine published quarterly by U.S. Africa Command to provide an international forum for African security professionals. ADF covers topics such as counter terrorism strategies, security and defense operations, transnational crime, and all other issues affecting peace, stability, and good governance on the African continent.

Senior Military Leaders Share Expertise at ALFS 23

ADF staff

Senior land forces leaders gathered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in May 2023 for the African Land Forces Summit to discuss shared threats and the need to cooperate as Sahel-based extremists push toward the West African coast. 

“The land forces need to come together and work together,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa, Infantry Corps commander of the Nigerian Army. “Asymmetric warfare requires the services of everybody — a whole-domain approach, all-regional approach. That’s why it’s important for us to meet, look at all the challenges we are facing and the best way to go through it.” 

Military chiefs and other leaders from 39 African countries attended the five-day summit, along with representatives from organizations such as the African Union and the United Nations. The event was co-hosted by U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa.

Group discussions covered peacekeeping operations in Africa, countering violent extremist organizations, drivers of instability and the importance of command teams.

Lt. Gen. Dennis Sitali Alibuzwi, commander of the Zambia Army, said military leaders often feel constrained and unable to “speak freely” with their counterparts on the continent, but he believed that by the end of the summit they would see the benefit of such candid exchanges.

“African armies have got different doctrines, background and history and, therefore, amalgamating all this experience, I’m sure solutions will be found to the African challenges that we face,” Alibuzwi said.

Lassina Diarra, a researcher at the Centre for Strategies and Security for the Sahel Sahara, talked about the intent of terror groups to expand and the efforts to block such movement. Diarra said the key to fighting terrorism is multilevel collaborative efforts.

“Cross-border terrorism calls for cooperation at the level of international, regional, subregional and bilateral cooperation,” Diarra said. “But some states have made the choice to go looking for mercenaries to cooperate with instead of cooperating with states in the fight against terrorism.”

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