June 29, 2014 (KAMPALA) – Uganda has agreed to deploy 736 troops to an East African intervention force for rapid response to regional conflicts, according to media reports.
- Uganda leader Yoweri Museveni Kaguta (New Vision photo)
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, according to Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper, announced this at the African Union meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Thursday.
“Uganda pledges to provide 736 officers and men for the Eastern African Standby Force,” said Museveni, also new chairman of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC).
Ten countries, including five East African nations, reportedly signed the agreement in support of the regional military initiative. Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Comoros and Seychelles were the other signatories to the deal.
The Ugandan leader reportedly promised that his country would do whatever it takes to ensure that the regional force succeeds, saying “We shall pay our assessed share of finance".
Rwanda, whose president Paul Kagame chaired the signing of the agreement, is also believed to have committed a motorised battalion of 850 troops, as well as 35 additional medical personnel and 10 vehicles.
Uganda deployed a contingent of its army in South Sudan to provide military support to government troops, but has been under intense pressure from opposition forces to withdraw from the new nation.
The East African regional bloc (IGAD) mediating peace talks between South Sudan’s warring factions, is pushing for the deployment of a regional protection force to enforce a January ceasefire deal.
The opposition, however, opposed IGAD’s proposal, saying regional forces could widen the conflict.