Nigerien soldiers practice apprehending a suspect. Photo : REUTERS
Nigerien soldiers practice apprehending a suspect. Photo : REUTERS

Military leaders across Africa gathered in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe to share best practices on how soldiers can serve communities without breaking the law.

During his opening speech at the 6th Africa Accountability Colloquium on Tuesday, Malawi Defense Force Commander General Sipuni Phiri described the meeting as the best forum for African forces to share experiences.

“Where we are operating, like in our case (Malawi) we are in Democratic Republic of Congo where we do several operations involving civilians; so we really need to understand the rules of engagement, the rule of law, so that we operate within the confines of the law,” said Sipuni Phiri. U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, who officially opened the conference, said the military needs to be open and serve communities in times of need and not infringe on people’s rights.

“People should not run away from military, they should run towards them to seek protection,” explained Palmer. She said the military should remain professional when exercising their duties no matter in what circumstances. The meeting which is hosted by U.S. Africa Command has brought together military commanders, chief of staffs and their legal advisers from countries across Africa.

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