East African forces meet in joint training



By Godfrey Olukya 16-5-2013

The Eastern Africa Standby Force training Exercise has kicked off in Uganda where readiness for full operational capability is being emphasized.

Over 1292 troops from ten African countries of Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and the host country Uganda, under the hospices of the Eastern Africa Stand by Forces (EASF), are currently meeting in the eastern Uganda town of Jinja for a field training exercise code named ‘Mashariki Salam 2013’ translated as ‘Peaceful Eastern Africa’.

The Eastern Africa Stand by Force is a regional organization whose mandate is to enhance regional peace and security in the region. It is one of the five regional Multi-dimensional components of the African Standby Force consisting of the Military, Police and Civilian elements.

The establishment of the force followed the decision of the African Union Summit held in 2004 to create the East Africa Standby Brigade later re-named the EASF, and a follow up implementation by the Council of Ministers of Defence and Security to establish a coordination mechanism.

The Eastern Africa Standby Force was also established as a regional mechanism to provide capability for rapid deployment of forces to carry out preventive deployment, rapid intervention, peace support and stability operations and, peace enforcement. The exercise seeks to endeavor a force readiness when called upon in the event of threats against any other African country.

Contingents from Burundi, Uganda, and Rwanda have already started the field simulation exercises that replicate an EASF mission. This was flagged off by Brig Nakibus Lakara, the Exercise Director who emphasized readiness for full operational capability by the year 2015.

Ongoing activities include interaction with the local communities and building a mini theatre and a pediatric ward at Namabu-Health Centre as a memento to the community. This health Centre located 20km from Jinja will be officially handed over after the exercise.

The main objectives of the training are to test EASF’as ability to generate forces, plan, deploy, sustain and recover a multi-dimensional AU mandated mission and maintain and enhance regional cohesion and co-operation.

The Eastern African Standby Force has already conducted exercises in Kenya, Djibouti and the Sudan. The official opening program is slated for May 19th 2013, at Gadaffi Garrison Jinja.


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