By Pascal Kwesiga
Uganda and other countries in the Eastern Africa region will be ready to deploy a 5,000 strong standby force by December 2014, the army has said.
The force will be comprised of troops from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Seychelles and Comoros.
Others countries in the region have not yet joined the efforts to build the Eastern Africa standby force (EASF) that will be comprised of the military, police and civilian components.
Maj. Gen. Francis Okello, the commandant of Uganda rapid deployment capability centre, said the force which will be one battalion strong backed by tank units, will be ready for deployment by December, one year before the African Union (AU) deadline.
African leaders resolved to establish Africa standby force during the AU summit in Addis Ababa in 2004.
trueParticipates during the training in the field of Security Sector Reforms for the Eastern Africa Standby Force at Silver Spring Hotel Bugolobi Kampala. PHOTO/Tony Rujut
The leaders from five regions – Eastern, Western, Central, Southern and Northern Africa were tasked to establish five standby regional forces by December 2015 to form Africa standby force.
Military chiefs from Eastern Africa have held a series of capacity building trainings for the soldiers, police and civilians since the eastern regional counties launched the process of building a standby force.
The civilian component of the force will mainly be handing the post conflict situations.
Addressing civilian representatives from the ten eastern Africa countries attending the security sector reform course at Silver Spring hotel in Kampala today, Okello said the force is urgently needed to counter internal and external threats that confront the member states.
The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) Head of Civilian Component, Abdirashid Aden Ibrahim during a training in the field of Security Sector Reforms for the Eastern Africa Standby Force at Silver Spring Hotel Bugolobi. PHOTO/ Tony Rujuta.
“If this force was ready it would have been the one deployed in South Sudan and Somalia now.
But the idea is not yet lost,” he added.
Eastern Africa standby by force ready in December