We are ready for deployment – East African Standby Force Chairman

The East African Standby Force (EASF)
The East African Standby Force (EASF) has full operation capability, which means the forces can be deployed whenever needed. Courtesy Photo.

The East African Standby Force (EASF) will venture into asymmetric warfare aimed at defeating belligerent military groups in the region.

This is warfare in which opposing groups or nations have unequal military resources and the weaker opponent uses unconventional weapons and tactics, as terrorism, to exploit the vulnerabilities of the enemy.

The EASF is a regional force composed of Military, Police and Civilians who are mandated to enhance peace and security in the Eastern Africa region. It was established as a regional mechanism to provide capability for rapid deployment of forces to carry out preventive deployment, rapid intervention, peace support/stability operations and peace enforcement.

Mohammad Sheikh Ahmed, the Chairman of the East African Standby Force, says EASF has full operation capability, which means the forces can be deployed whenever needed. Sheikh Mohammad notes that the troops will remain under individual member states and will only come together whenever called on upon.

The Leadership of the East African standby forces has prepared the mission headquarters staff ranging from the Police commander, civilian leadership and special representatives to the secretariat. The military headquarters has also been established with the force commander and 68 staff from the member states, have been trained and are on standby.

Other regional forces include; Northern Standby Brigade (NARC), Western Africa Standby Brigade (ECOWAS), Central African Standby Brigade (ECCAS) and Southern Africa Standby Brigade (SADC). Now East African Standby Force which only became operational in 2016 will focus on a symmetric war fare as a means to throw belligerent groups out of balance.

Maj Gen Tai C. Gituasi, the EASF Chief of staff states that EACF will only act on AU sanctioned deployments and deployment of force will be the last option. According to Gituasi, unlike in Europe, Africa and East Africa still faces a challenge of belligerent groups, which are a major source of instability.

Gituasi stated that the EASF would consider deploying in any country as long as it is sanctioned by the African Union. He however stated that as a stand by force, it would not just deploy in a country for sovereignty and diplomatic reasons. As it stands, the member states have pledged to contribute 5000 troops as part of the standby force.

– Uganda Radio Network