Ministers of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) member countries have raised concerns over regional security threats that are partly caused by an increasing flow of illegal small fire arms from the Middle East into the region.
Despite going towards attaining goals of silencing guns in the region by 2020, emerging threats range from increasing incidences of terror attacks and abductions, cross-border organized crime syndicates, human and drug trafficking, illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons with increasing magnitude.
During the 24th extraordinary meeting of Eastern Africa defence ministers in Kigali- July 27, 2018, General James Kabarebe, Rwanda’s minister of defence was particularly concerned about the unfolding conflict in South Sudan and the horn of Africa.
“I would like to reiterate my serious concern about the on-going situation in these regions, I deplore the senseless killing of innocent civilians and the humanitarian tragedy unfolding on the ground,” Gen. Kabarebe said.
Kabarebe also said that the 10 member states council of ministers should consider implementation of recommendations of Chief of Defence Staffs (CDS) and also focus on the best means and ways of effectively addressing the root causes of the conflicts and crises prevailing in Eastern Africa.
“It is time to review the political and cultural dynamics which lead to various forms of conflict and war in the region, and also to re-align strategies to emerging conflict situations and scenarios,” Kabarebe said.
Major General Trust Mugoba, the African Union Commission (AUC) Chief of Staff African Standby Force said that the AU commission is concerned with these developments despite success of establishing standby forces.
“The proliferation of small arms and weapons and extremist groups from the Middle East, establishment of foreign bases within the region and the involvement of the external forces in the conflicts in the Horn of Africa is a worrisome development,” Maj. Gen. Mugoba said.
On the other hand the minister agreed on soliciting sustainable funding sources for the regional forces in a bid to maintain peace operations as donor friends of EASF starting pulling down resources by the end of 2020.