New regional security mechanism

Amid renewed fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), countries in central Africa decided on Saturday to create a regional military command with a brigade of around 2,400 troops.

The new regional military command is "in keeping with other regions of Africa, which have mechanisms for the prevention, resolution and management of conflicts," Nelson Come, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), said at the end of a two-day meeting in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo (ROC).

Ministers of defence attended from Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and ROC attended. Rwanda, Burundi and Sao Tome and Principe were not represented.

The new regional command would manage military operations, training, logistics, finance and communication. It is to be headed by a regional chief of staff, assisted by five deputies.

Regional peacekeeping manoeuvres will begin next year in Chad. The host country will provide 200 million CFA francs (US $406,000) for the exercise; the other participating states will each contribute 80 million CFA francs ($163,000).

Central African heads of state are to decide the location of the military headquarters of the new regional command at next year's ECCAS summit.