Defence Minister Gen. James Kabarebe has underscored the need for Africa to find its own solutions to crises that bedevil the continent.
Gen. Kabarebe made the remarks over the weekend during the 9th Extra Ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers of Defence and Security of the Eastern Africa region under the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) in Kampala, Uganda.
EASF is one of the five regional components of the African Standby Force established by the African Union for the purpose of containing the scourge of conflicts and enhancing peace and security in the continent.
“The recent developments in eastern DRC, Mali, and Central Africa Republic are clear examples of the need for Africa to enhance its capacity and capability to promote African solutions to Africa’s problems in addressing conflicts and crisis in Africa,” the minister said.
The meeting, chaired by Gen. Kabarebe, agreed on the deployment of a multidimensional force comprising 1,250 personnel composed of military, police and civilian components to participate in a joint field military training exercise scheduled for next month in Uganda. The one week exercise is code named “Field Training Exercise Mashariki Salaam 2013”
Burundi’s Gerard Nduwayo will head the mission while Brig Gen Jack Bakasumba (Uganda), the current Brigade Commander of EASF Brigade Headquarters, will serve as the Force Commander for the Exercise.
Kabarebe said by conducting the upcoming exercise in Jinja, EASF is testing its readiness to implement the African Standby Force (ASF) roadmap in conflict prevention, management and resolution in the region.
Different donors have already offered financial assistance to build the Eastern African standby force that is expected to be ready for deployment by 2015 in conflict resolution missions under the auspices of the African Union (AU).
South Sudan, which is yet to become a full member of EASF, was invited to participate in the Field Training Exercise as observers.