News / Africa

Troops Pledged for East African Standby Force

Somali soldiers patrol near the wreckage of a car bomb that was detonated at the main gate of the presidential palace in Mogadishu, Somalia, July, 9, 2014.
Somali soldiers patrol near the wreckage of a car bomb that was detonated at the main gate of the presidential palace in Mogadishu, Somalia, July, 9, 2014.
Nick Long

Defense chiefs from 10 East African countries have pledged a total of 5,000 troops to a new regional standby force for deployment by December.

Rwanda's army spokesman said the officials made the pledges at a meeting in Kigali.

The African Union has been working on a plan for 10 years for each of the continent‘s regions to have its own peacekeeping force on standby in case of emergencies.

Target date set

The A.U. is aiming for all the forces to be in place by December 2015, but some regions are more advanced than others. The East African region’s heads of state, 10 of whom are signed up to the plan, decided in June they want their regional standby force to be operational by December of this year.

"The East African standby force heads of state decided that due to the insecurity that is prevailing in the East African region the member countries need to take urgent steps," said Rwanda’s military spokesman, General Joseph Nzabamwita.

In the past year war has broken out in South Sudan and conflict has spread to Kenya’s coastal region, while more recently security has deteriorated in Somalia.

Nzabamawita said the heads of state sent military and security officials to Kigali this week, where the target number of troops and police was agreed to.

"We also pledged four police units of between 140 and 170 men each, so we got all the troops that we wanted and the police officers that we wanted to put at the disposal of the organization to be able to deploy at any one time," Nzambamwita said.

He said Burundi has pledged a battalion of light infantry. Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda have each pledged a motorized battalion and Kenya a mechanized battalion, while Comoros, Djibouti and Somalia are each contributing a squadron or company.

Urgent timing

The Rwandan defense minister, General James Kabarebe, told defense chiefs at the meeting on Friday they have a short time frame within which to get the force ready.

The East African plan is for each member state to contribute to a fund, which would enable the regional force to put boots on the ground in a crisis zone, within 14 days if necessary. Thereafter other donors’ help would be needed to maintain operations, but the region should put up its own funding initially.

It is intended to hold an EASF funding conference with donors in the first half of next year.

"Once we have the funding, then you are sure of sustainability, and the most important thing is that the leaders are planning to ensure that member states contribute, and donors. So we can only hope that we get all the support and all the finances as soon as possible," Nzambamwita said.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said last month that regional organizations in Africa are playing a more central role in peacekeeping than ever before, and that, as they step forward, they deserve full support.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid