NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF), a
regional rapid response force, said on Friday its troops are on
standby and ready to deploy to South Sudan if the African Union
gives the directive.
EASF Director Chanfi
Issimail said the rapid-deployment force is well equipped and
has the capacity to deploy to the troubled nation within 14 days
following command which must be confirmed and endorsed by the AU
“EASF has a ready
full operational capability force of 5,200 military, police and
civilian personnel to fulfill its mandate of enhancing peace and
security in the Eastern Africa region,” Issimail said in Nairobi
during a visit by Denmark’s ambassador to Kenya Mette Knudsen to
sign the joint Danish-EASF project of engagement document.
The rapid deployment
force is one of the five regional standby forces under the
command of the African Union and draws its membership from ten
member states from the Eastern Africa Region, namely Burundi,
Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia,
Sudan and Uganda.
EASF is one of the
five regional components of the African Standby Force
established by the African Union for the purpose of containing
conflicts and enhancing peace and security on the continent.
The EASF was
established as a regional mechanism to provide capability for
rapid deployment of forces to carry out preventive deployment,
rapid intervention and peace enforcement.
South Sudan’s civil
war began in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused
former first vice president Riek Machar of plotting a coup,
which opened ethnic divisions characterized by human rights
erupted again in July between forces loyal to President Kiir and
his former deputy Machar, uprooting thousands of refugees who
crossed into regional countries.
Knudsen and Issimail
signed a document totaling 3 million U.S. dollars for the
project that is designed to facilitate the standby force in
achieving its ambition as a key player in the peace and security
sector in the region through capacity building for the duration
of the program that runs from 2015 to 2017.
Knudsen said the
contribution is one element that can be used to support the
clamor for peace in Africa.
“EASF is a useful
tool and choice for the African Union in implementing peace in
the region and a strong instrument that can be used to address
stability in the region,” the ambassador said.