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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora