EASF ready to de­ploy to South Su­dan

The East African - - NEWS -

THE EAST­ERN African Standby Force is ready to de­ploy troops to South Su­dan if re­quested by the African Union, de­spite fail­ing to in­ter­vene in the Bu­rundi cri­sis in 2015.

The 5,800-strong force at­tained full op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity in De­cem­ber 2014, but has re­mained in ob­scu­rity de­spite the con­flicts in So­ma­lia, South Su­dan and Bu­rundi.

This is un­like its equiv­a­lent in the Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity of West African States (Ecowas), which has been ac­tive and in­ter­vened in con­flict-prone ar­eas, with the lat­est in­ter­ven­tion com­ing in Jan­uary 2017 when the force re­moved Gam­bian pres­i­dent Yahya Jam­meh.

EASF direc­tor Ab­dil­lahi Omar Bouh told The Eastafrican that de­ploy­ment re­quires heavy re­sources.

“In South Su­dan, the Igad must first deal with the me­di­a­tion, which is al­ready com­plete. The ques­tion now is, should Igad de­ploy troops or EASF? Igad has al­ready given the task to Dji­bouti, Uganda, So­ma­lia and Su­dan. We have writ­ten to the chair­man of Igad re­quest­ing that EASF be asked to go to South Su­dan,” he said.

On the Bu­rundi cri­sis, he said Bu­jum­bura did not ask for help.

“In case a mem­ber state is in cri­sis, they are called to a Pol­icy Or­gan Com­mit­tee meet­ing to ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion be­cause we can­not de­ploy with­out the per­mis­sion of the af­fected mem­ber. Bu­rundi said they had no prob­lem.”

EASF is made up of troops from 10 part­ner states — Bu­rundi, Co­moros, Dji­bouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sey­chelles, So­ma­lia, Su­dan and Uganda. Among the key chal­lenges the force faces is that three coun­tries—bu­rundi, Co­moros and So­ma­lia—are yet to rat­ify the agree­ment that es­tab­lished the force in 2014.

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