Sunday, August 19, 2007

East African and Southern African Nations Creating Regional Peacekeeping Force

Voice of America has a piece introducing the new Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG).

'Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki opened the defense ministers' council meeting in Nairobi with a call for financial support and troop contributions to a new stand-by force. Mr. Kibaki said that troops should be available within three years to handle any crisis, from terrorist attacks to natural disasters, on the African continent.

The new force, to be called the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade (EASBRIG) has its headquarters in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, as well as a planning department in Kenya. Though exact numbers of soldiers have yet to be announced, military officials have said EASBRIG will be made up of five brigades.

Officials of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a seven-country regional development organization in East Africa, say the new force is needed, because they are overwhelmed with demands for troops to be sent to war-torn areas on the continent, including Sudan's Darfur region, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo.'

In a case of duelling-launches, the SADC announced the creation of their own Southern African peacekeeping brigade on the same day.