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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 551-98
October 26, 1998

DOD DEPLOYS FORCES TO BENIN FOR PEACEKEEPING TRAINING

In continued support of the U.S. strategy of promoting stability and improving the capabilities of African militaries, the Secretary of Defense has directed the United States European Command to initiate the next series of training activities for the selected African nations which have committed forces to the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI).

Approximately 60 soldiers for the U.S. Army's 3rd Special Forces Group, headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C., along with other support troops, began deploying to Benin Saturday, Oct. 24. They will commence training a battalion-sized unit later this week.

Since the ACRI training program began in July 1997, the 3rd Special Forces Group has trained forces in Senegal, Uganda, Malawi, Mali and Ghana.

ACRI is a bilateral training initiative intended to work with African states to create highly effective, rapidly deployable peacekeeping units that can operate jointly in the event of a humanitarian crisis or in a traditional peacekeeping operation. It is conducted in coordination with African partners, the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations. It is also coordinated with and complements the training efforts of several other African and non-African nations, including the United Kingdom and France.

More information on this program can be found on European Command's worldwide web homepage at http://www.eucom.mil

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