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Namibia and Cameroon naval forces participate in UNITAS for first time

Namibia's NS Elephant docked in the Port of Rio de Janeiro during the Exercise ‘UNITAS'. (Brazilian Navy's News Service)

For the first time since the inception of the event in 1960, the Namibian and Cameroonian navies participated in the multinational exercise UNITAS this year off the coast of Brazil.

Namibia's NS Elephant (A11), a Chinese-made multi-purpose ship, and two Cameroonian patrol boats, CNS Le Ntem (P108) and CNS La Sanaga (P109), took part in UNITAS LXIII, which was held from 8 to 22 September.

Air Marshal Martin Kambulu Pinehas, chief of the Namibian Defence Force, told Janes that the two navies have “enjoyed sound relations in maritime affairs since 1994, when the naval co-operation agreement was signed in Namibia” between the two governments.

He added, “So far, more than 600 Namibian naval personnel have been trained in various fields of study” in Brazil. During UNITAS media briefings, Admiral Almir Garnier Santos, commander of the Brazilian Navy, also highlighted the strength of bilateral relations. Most Namibian officers and non-commissioned officers studied and graduated from Brazilian military schools, while Brazilian naval personnel also train the Namibian military in Namibia, Garnier explained. The Brazilian Navy also has a co-operation office in Namibia.

Moreover, for Namibia, participating in UNITAS enabled the service to “enhance interoperability, increase and strengthen bilateral relationships, fostering interaction among troops, exercising the sustainment of forces (logistic support), [and to] test and improve the interoperability of communication systems”, the Namibian Navy said in a release.

The UNITAS operations marked the third time the Brazilian and African navies have trained together this year. The Niterói-class frigate União

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