Call for dialogue on Sudan conflict
The use of violence to end the conflicts between Sudan and South Sudan will not bring stability in the region, say military experts of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF).
Lt. Col. Solomon Malanambo from Kenya, told The New Times yesterday on the side lines of an EASF meeting underway in Kigali.
“Sudan and South Sudan should dialogue and find a possible solution to their conflicts instead of going for a full scale war,” he said.
Malanambo said that the two countries fought in a two-decade civil war before South Sudan became independent, but nobody won; only peaceful means resolved their differences.
“Violent means will bring about instability, loss of lives and property in the region. I am personally against it,” he asserted.
Col. Ezeldin Taha, the Chief of Staff, military component of EASF said: “We want both countries to sit down and come up with peaceful negotiations that would lead to long lasting peace between them”.
Sudan and South Sudan separated officially on July 9, 2011, but tensions between the two countries have not subsided, especially over the issue of shared oil revenues and defining the border.
The soldiers’ remarks follow yesterday’s Sudanese war planes that crossed a disputed border region to conduct air strikes in South Sudan, escalating fighting that threatens to return the neighbouring African countries to full-scale war.
Sudan and South Sudan are on the verge of open war. Violence along the contested border between the two countries has been escalating in recent weeks, culminating, on April 10, in southern forces taking over Heglig, the north’s biggest and most valuable oilfield.
“There is no need of using force; countries should be flexible with each other. I totally don’t support war between Sudan and South Sudan. We are brothers and sisters, why fight each other,” emphasised Taha.
EASF military experts from 10 African countries are currently meeting in Kigali to discuss how to operationalise the logistics support to EASF brigade.
The meeting that draws experts from 10 countries of Eastern Africa will end Friday.
According to the organisers of the meeting, EASF 2010-2015 strategic plan envisages a logistic system capable of supporting the deployment and sustainment of regional capabilities, initially by 2013 and full operational by end of 2015.
Col. Said Ali Omar, the Chief of Staff, EASF Logistics Base, said Sudan and South Sudan should sit at the table and end their conflicts before a full scale war escalates.
“We are against this war that would have devastating consequences and would be unproductive for both countries and Africa,” said Omar who hails from Djibouti.
While opening the meeting, Maj. Gen. Jacques Musemakweli, head, J5 RDF Headquarters, commended the efforts of EASF to make the organisation a strong force.
“The entire Eastern Africa region is a big family with a same vision, so let’s work together to realise our dream of stable and peaceful region and continent,” he noted.
EASF is a constituent organisation of the African Standby Force (ASF) which falls under the African Union (AU).
The establishment of the organisation in 2004 followed the ratification of the AU Peace and Security Protocol by the 1st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Durban, 9 July 2002.
Col. Michael Nkurunziza, the head of political affairs EASF Coordination Mechanism (EASFCOM), said security trends in the world today indicate that Africa should seek ways and means of solving her own problems.
“We should be prepared to develop a force support management capability. Let’s not forget that this is the beginning of what we need to achieve in matters of force support and it’s vital to remain focused on our goals as a region,” he stated.
Currently, the EASF is composed of 10 active member States, including Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.
Contact email: frank.kanyesigye[at]newtimes.co.rw