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Major Military Exercise in Africa Now Canceled

WASHINGTON - One of the U.S. military's largest exercises in Africa has been canceled due to the threat of the coronavirus, after already being significantly scaled down last week.

U.S. Africa Command said Monday the decision to cancel the massive, U.S.-led African Lion exercise was made "out of an abundance of caution" and based on both international travel restrictions associated with COVID-19 and the desire to minimize the risk of service members being exposed to the coronavirus.

The massive, U.S.-led African Lion exercises in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal were supposed to involve 9,300 troops from eight nations. The troops use the exercises to improve military readiness and integration, while preparing to combat transregional threats. 

Last week, Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command, told VOA and The Wall Street Journal that he had decided to to significantly scale down the exercise "in scale and scope" based on coronavirus concerns.

At that time, Army exercises were to be cut because they involved troops being housed in closed quarters. However, Townsend and his international partners had planned to continue training events that required "less interaction between large troop formations like air activity, naval activity, and maybe some special operations activity," the general said.

African Lion was scheduled to take place from March 23 to April 4.

Aliqismet BADALOV,
“Khalq qazeti”

17 2020 11:00 -

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