The East Africa Community (EAC) has moved closer to establishing a regional military force designed to protect key economic installations in member countries.
Over 300 officers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda are currently in Nairobi for a joint training exercise on how to work together as a unified force.
Chief of Defence Forces Samson Mwathethe said that the force is necessary because of anticipated economic boom in Uganda and Kenya with oil production as well as natural gas in Tanzania.
“The federation is slowly but firmly taking shape among EAC States as envisaged. Including South Sudan, it covers 2.4 million square kilometres and has a population of 170 million. All countries are heavily committed to peace and security in the region,” he said.
The military boss spoke at Humanitarian and Peace Support School in Embakasi Garrison, Nairobi.
General Mawthethe said terrorism is the biggest security challenge in the region and all nations must work as one.
“The economic projects will see the region making huge contribution in the world and thus must be prepared to enhance security,” he added.
Besides the military, police and civilian experts have also been included in the joint training.
Defence cabinet secretary Raychelle Omamo said the joint exercises are in line with EAC protocol of Defence cooperation.
“The integrated mission will help in responding to complex security challenges in the region. To be effective, we need to understand the changing tactics of terror groups that are determined to destabilize economies of this region,” she noted.
Ms Omamo added: “And in the years to come, we expect to come up with counter terrorism strategies from these joint exercises.”