KAMPALA – The East African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) top brass sat in Kampala last week to set procedures, standards, tactics and techniques of operation.
EASBRIG is one of the five regional standby brigades of the African Peace and Security Architecture whose ultimate objective is to develop a continental capability to respond to crises like conflicts and disasters that continue to plague the continent at the expense of development.
It brings together defence forces of the member states which include Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Burundi which joined recently.
Tanzania notably opted for SASBRIG of SADC. (Southern Africa). Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Lt. Gen Ivan Koreta, the Ugandan Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, called upon member states to take advantage of the possibility of a collective security mechanism to benefit from its advantages.
“Had mechanisms such as EASBRIG been in place by the time our countries were getting independence, the region would have foregone the turmoil and upheavals experienced today,” remarked Koreta.
EASBRIG together with other regional brigades will come together to form an African Union Standby force that will be part of the planned worldwide regional brigades which will be maintained for peace-keeping purposes and dealing with crisis military.
While presenting a document on Standard Operation Procedures, Col. Muzungu Munyaneza, who is the Chief of Staff of EASBRIG Planning Element, said that the force’s operations, plans and training will rely on high-tech information systems.
The brigade will also be composed of a civilian police force that will help in keeping law and order in the member countries.
The outgoing Chairperson of Eastern Africa Chiefs of Defence Staff, General Aronda Nyakairima, whose is also the Ugandan Chief of Defence Forces, thanked the member states for positively responding to this cause and predicted a bright future for EASBRIG.
He added that by 2010, the Eastern African region will have its own collective capacity to respond to conflicts and disaster, adding that in a meeting of AU Chiefs of Defence Staff that took place early this year, operational documents of the African Standby force were approved.
“This means that we shall soon set the ball rolling,” said Koreta.
The EASBRIG will hold a conference in Kigali, come this May to discus the main plan, and the first Command Post exercise is expected to take place in November.