Acts of piracy along the Eastern Africa coast threaten to take a heavy toll on the region, and the Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) cannot handle it alone. This was acknowledged by Army and Defence Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jill Rutaremara, in a phone interview Tuesday.
“This is an international threat that doesn’t need EASBRIG alone. It affects other countries like China, India and others far beyond our region,” Lt. Col. Rutaremara said on phone.
“There is a suggestion to include a maritime component in the planning element of EASBRIG. The idea has been adopted. It has been lacking and it is not a fighting force, but it would help in solving these issues by examining them and advising”.
Lt. Col. Rutaremara explained that there was no immediate solution but EASBRIG has been making its contribution in Somalia by discussing issues at various levels and examining the nature of the problem.
EASBRIG is working to develop a continental capability to respond to crises like conflicts and disasters. It is also working to develop a fully operational multi-dimensional and integrated standby force which is likely to be ready for deployment by 2015.
Experts note that if the threat continues unabated, the cost of doing business in Rwanda and the wider region will be higher. Somali pirates’ activities are threatening Dar es Salaam and Mombasa; two major ports serving landlocked countries like Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda.
When the Government announced a 2% fuel price hike in early May, it was acknowledged that apart from the mounting pressure from a volatile global oil market, other reasons for the crisis included the pirate situation along the Somalia coastline.