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  Multinational Planners put final touches on Exercise Unified Focus 2017 in Cameroon

Planners discuss the details of each exercise scenario during the Unified Focus 2017 final planning event (FPE), Douala, Cameroon, Feb. 6, 2016. The UF17 FPE brought partner nation planners together to discuss and shape the inaugural Unified Focus exercise designed to enhance and enable Lake Chad Basin Commission nations to support the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) counter-Boko Haram operations.(U.S. Army Africa Photo by Capt. Jason Welch)

Multinational Planners put final touches on Exercise Unified Focus 2017 in Cameroon

Story by Capt. Jason Welch U.S. Army Africa U.S. Army Africa

DOUALA, CAMEROON – Military planners from the U.S., Cameroon and seven other African and European nations met here Feb. 6-9 to finish the planning and preparation for the inaugural U.S. Army Africa-led exercise Unified Focus 2017, scheduled to take place in April.

UF17 is a tabletop exercise that brings the military partners of the Lake Chad Basin Commission’s Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) together to practice joint planning and coordination through a series of vignettes.

The planning event began with recognition of the recent loss of Cameroonian Brig. Gen. Jacob Kodji and three other officers in a helicopter crash.

“This exercise that we're planning is a counterterrorism exercise and on the 22nd of January Brig. Gen. Kodji and three of his comrades were killed on the battlefield in the fight against terrorism,” said Cameroonian Maj. Gen. Saly Mohamadou, Commander of the 2nd Military Region and senior host for the planning event.

“I know that some of you in the audience know Gen. Kodji. I would like to take a moment of silence in his memory and his teammates that were killed,” Saly said during the opening ceremony for the planning event.

Saly also reminded everyone that the purpose of UF17 was to enable participants to counter the violence of extremist organizations like those operating in the Lake Chad Basin area.

“I'd like to take this opportunity to reiterate Cameroon's dedication to counterterrorism.,” Saly said. “We would like to represent everyone's fight against terrorism in this exercise.”

“We salute everyone's efforts in counterterrorism, including the United States,” said Saly. “It's a multinational effort led by the United States to fight terrorism, especially against Boko Haram.”

In addition to members of the U.S. and Cameroonian military, planners also represented Benin, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy.

“All of the nations involved in the MNJTF are integral in this fight. Your efforts are appreciated by our population. All of the efforts from all the nations represented here today show the determination of all the countries against terrorism and against violence. It's this synergy that created the MNJTF,” said Saly.

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