Africa will form its own rapid reaction force to deal with regional security emergencies, leaders decided at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday.
The move came after calls from several African leaders for the formation of an armed force to contain the increasing number of conflicts and rebellions on the continent, Reuters reported.
The AU Assembly's text says the immediate rapid response force would be formed from voluntary contributions of troops, equipment and funds by member states currently in a position to provide them. The force will at first be called the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis and will be a stopgap until the formation of the planned rapid reaction force, Reuters noted.
It will consist of a "flexible and robust force ... to be deployed very rapidly to effectively respond to emergency situations, within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture," the report says.
A proposal to create an African military force has existed for more than a decade, but no progress was made until now. Monday’s decision to create the armed force underscores the rising concerns among the member countries over persisting violence in the continent. The recent military coups, insurgencies and rebellions in Mali, Nigeria and eastern Congo exposed the lack of defense mechanism in the African Union.
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Earlier this year, a militant insurgency in Mali, a former French colony, forced the Malian government to seek military intervention from France to contain the invasion of Islamic militants. This once again prompted calls to form Africa’s own military force to deal with the crisis instead of seeking help and resources from the United Nations and Western countries.
The decision was "aimed at helping in bringing about African solutions to Africa's problems," the AU Assembly text stated.