The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) will Monday begin wide-ranging military exercises in Sudan, official said.
Sudanese Defence minister Mohamed Ali Salim told a press conference in Khartoum that 10 countries would take part in the exercise in eastern Sudan.
The more than 1,000 troops are from Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, Seychelles, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Comoros.
Lt Gen Salim pointed out that the exercise, to continue till December 3, would focus on boosting the capabilities of the forces with regard to peacekeeping in the region, conflict and terrorism management and combating human trafficking, among other transnational crimes.
A key test
“Preparations have been completed for the beginning of the EASF exercise with participation of 1,029 forces from 10 East African countries,” Lt Gen Salim stated.
“The exercise will be conducted in Jabait area in eastern Sudan region, near the Red Sea,” he added.
EASF Secretary General Abdullah Omar Boa said the exercise was a key test for the force's abilities to respond to crisis situations in the region and beyond, when tasked to do so by the African Union.
“This exercise is very important because it is a way to show how our forces can react during deployment. It is also important to demonstrate the role of Sudan in regional peace and security,” he added.
The exercise will also be attended by military representatives from the European Union, China and US.
EASF is a regional force whose mandate is to enhance peace and security in the eastern Africa region. It is one of the five regional multidimensional forces of the African Standby Force (ASF), consisting of military, police and civilian components.
EASF was established in 2004 for rapid deployment and intervention, peace support and stability operations and peace enforcement.