Thursday, October 29, 2015

The African Standby Force

From January 2016, the African Standby Force (ASF) will be able to intervene in cases of war crimes, genocide or crimes against humanity if an African Union member state requests assistance or if the AU itself considers the situation serious enough. This multidisciplinary force will be made up of five brigades - each with police, military and civilian components that could be deployed within 14 days in their own regions. The Cameroonian city of Douala will host the logistics base, where equipment will be stored, but the ultimate power remains in Addis Ababa, at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

At the moment, 5,000 troops from around the continent are taking part in an ASF field training exercise in South Africa to help evaluate how ready the force is to deploy. The number of personnel is expected to rise to 25,000 by the time the force is operational in January. The AU says it still needs $1bn (£650m) to properly finance the force. Without donor support it will be difficult for a mission to actually be deployed.

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