this http://ciencialili.org/cache/gantry/e3625f22983f7563ae9a0f3fe508c832-cache-gantry-1ce5cec61f112ff4df91360326cfbeb6.php geneva;”>The EASF which has started training at the Jinja based Gaddafi military barracks where is to keep force in the region. It contains 188 soldiers from 10 countries that include Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Republic of Sudan and Uganda.
East African troops at a parade
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Jinja on Sunday, the Minister said the African continent has many conflicts and the lack of a standing force reminds the continent of its duty to work harder to ensure security, peace and sovereignty on the continent.
“Africa still has some distance to walk towards establishing a regional force to bank on in case of need,” he said.
High ranking army officials at the function
“We still have scattered conflicts and still have peacekeeping missions in some area. In this we still have external actors, some have come without invitation, but there have been some successes with those we have worked closely,” added Dr. Kiyonga.
He further noted that the prevalence of lack of peace is a reminder that Africa must work harder to guarantee her stability and sovereignty, citing the case of Somalia, a country he said, is “back as an equal partner in peace efforts to build the continent.”
Uganda Defence Ministry Permanent Secretary Rosemary Byengoma (L) sharing a light moment with Gen Aronda
Dr. Kiyonga also called for mechanisms to sustain the political will derived from the mission of the African Union.
“This mission must be sustained; and we continue to count on the AU to keep checking on us to remind us of the duty to protect our countries,” he said.
In his speech, the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces Gen Aronda Nyakayirima who is the Exercise conducting officers spoke of Uganda’s delight at hosting this function.
He said Africa is proud to celebrate her fundamental achievements especially given that these coincide with the 50 years of the AU.
Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga flagging off the trainning
“Africa with her great economic wealth, declining levels of poverty, is yet another cause for celebration when our leaders gather to mark the 50 years. As we celebrate our achievements, we reflect on the challenge we face,” citing the Coup in Central African Republic and the conflict raging on in Mali and Eastern DRC.
“As Eastern African Standby Forces gather, it becomes so timely to reflect both on the achievements and challenges to forge a way forward. Africa is an emerging continent of the 21st century and we must guarantee her security,” Aronda remarked.
Aronda stressed the instability in African countries like Somalia and DRC plus the overthrow of governments by armed forces like in Central African Republic.
He said the African continent that has over 1.2 billion people occupying 11.7million sq km needed a standing force. “In the last 60 years Europe has been one of the most peaceful continents because of the NATO. Russia, India and China can also guarantee their security due to their forces,” he noted.
Uganda defence officials at the ceremony
Representing the Kenyan Defense Minister, the Permament Secretary of the Kenyan Defence Ministry, Ambassador Nancy Kirui described Mashariki Salam 2013 as an instrument for the preservation and perpetuation of regional peace.
In his remarks, the Exercise Director Brig Nakibus Lakara had emphasized the ability to train and test EASF’s capability and force readiness by 2015, based on the African Union Road Map.
Present at the flag off Ceremony were the Minister of Defence-from Comoros Hon. Madi Bolero, officials and representatives from the 10 member States of the Eastern Africa Stand by Force. The Republic of South Sudan is also participating as Exercise as observers.
Among other officers at the function was Maj. Gen Julius Oketta from Uganda, Maj. Gen. F. Safari from Rwanda and Gen F.K. Nthenge from Kenya.
The UPDF band providing all the necessary entertainment
The East African standby force that has started training will be a sub regional component of the African regional forces mandated to be ready by the year 2015. The force will also be mandated to keep peace and fight piracy on top of fighting terrorism and disaster management among other duties in the region.
The force that has started training in the area code named Karani region contains both military and civilian components.