East African states hold joint military drills

About 1,300 troops and civilians from 10 East African countries have participated in joint military drills in Uganda's eastern district of Jinja.

   According to a statement released by the military in Kampala, the field training exercise code named EASF FTX "Mashariki Salam 2013" translated as "Peaceful Eastern Africa" is held under the auspices the Eastern Africa Stand by Force (EASF). The countries are the host Uganda, Burundi, the Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, the Seychelles, Somalia, and Sudan.
   "The main objectives of the training are to test EASF's ability to generate forces, plan, deploy, sustain and recover a multi- dimensional African Union mandated mission and maintain and enhance regional cohesion and co-operation," statement said on May 15.
   The EASF is a regional organization whose mandate is to enhance regional peace and security in the region. It is one of the five regional multi-dimensional components of the African Standby Force consisting of the military, police and civilian elements.
   The EASF was established as a regional mechanism to provide capability for rapid deployment of forces to carry out preventive deployment, rapid intervention, peace support and stability operations and, peace enforcement.
   The exercise was flagged off by Brig. Nakibus Lakara, the exercise director, and who said the EASF would be ready for full operational capability by 2015.
   The EASF has already conducted exercises in Kenya, Djibouti and Sudan. (Xinhua)