Experts told The EastAfrican that Somalia comes to the EAC with its baggage of security concerns, which includes Al Shabaab terrorism, proliferation of small arms and smuggling related insecurity via the open 3,000km shoreline – Africa’s longest – which could present new security headache for the region.
However, under the EAC Peace and Security Strategy, the bloc would deploy a regional force to provide the much-needed support to the Somali National Army, similar to the one it sent to Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last year.
“We have already seen this happen in DRC, it’s challenges notwithstanding,” says Ugandan regional security expert. “There is nothing that would stop EAC pursuing the same mandate in Somalia, which doesn’t require the UN’s endorsement.”
Uganda, Kenya and Burundi are already active in the Horn of Africa nation, where they are among the troop contributing countries (TCC) to the United Nations Security Council mandated 19000-strong African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis) force, fighting al-Shabaab since 2007.