By Dotun Ibiwoye
Addis Ababa – The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU Commission on Friday, listed Boko Haram, Al-Qa’ida Al-Shabaab and the lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as the major terrorist groups in Africa.
A communiqué issued in Addis Ababa after Council’s meeting said the terrorists threat in Africa continued to be shaped by the activities of Al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Shabaab al Mujahideen, Boko Haram, and the LRA.
The communiqué said that the terrorist groups were operating in different countries as, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Qa’ida Al-Shabaab in Somalia and the lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda.
The communiqué added that troubling trends have emerged with the increased level of activity of the groups over the past months, particularly in relation to growing links between some of them as well as their involvement in various other forms of crime.
It stated that in the last few months, Boko Haram had carried out a number of terrorist attacks against civilians, government and, most recently, international targets in Nigeria.
“These attacks resulted in numerous casualties and injuries. The bombing of the UN Office in Abuja, marked the group’s first attack against an international target and the group claimed responsibility for the assassination of a number of policemen, clerics and politicians,’’ it stated.
“ In an effort to bring the activities of all the terrorists groups operating in Africa, the 249th meeting of the Council encouraged the Commission to elaborate an African arrest warrant for persons charged with any terrorist act.
“The Commission is currently engaged with the UN and other partners to develop the framework and procedures for an African Arrest Warrant,’’ it said.
According to the communiqué, despite all the efforts being made, there is an urgent need for sufficient coordination among the relevant regional continental and UN institutions within and between Member States.
“Effective coordination is required to make the work of these institutions more effective and allow for real time sharing of critical information.
“In addition, while acknowledging the dynamism of designated national Focal Points, it appears that Focal Points do not yet enjoy a mandate that enables them to play the coordinating role that is expected of them,’’ the communiqué added.
The communiqué further requested Member States to appoint senior level officials with access to decision makers, so as to be able to directly convey messages to the right levels of decision making and ensure adequate and timely engagement.
It added that better institutional interaction could be achieved through establishment of national and regional coordinating structures for terrorism and organised crime in the form of Fusion Centres which encompass the different countries in each region.
“This mechanism will enable the timely exchange of information, the creation of synergies, the sharing of resource among different institutions involved and the conduct of joint operations,’’ the communiqué said.
It called on Member States to devote resources and establish institutions that would address issues of terrorism, as well as the imperative of upholding the rule of law and protecting human rights in the fight against terrorism. (NAN)