Chergui: Counterterrorism in Africa requires almost permanent mobilization

APS : Wednesday, 14 December 2016
ALGIERS-The African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui stressed Wednesday in Algiers that despite counterterrorism achievements in Africa, “mobilization must be almost permanent” due the threat posed by 2000 foreign terrorists in Africa, who come from Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
“We witness today a broadened action field of terrorist groups in Mali and in neighbouring countries. Moreover, the arrival of foreign armed terrorists in the Sahel region further complicates the situation following the recovery of some towns occupied by the self-proclaimed terrorist group “Islamic State” (ISIS),” said Chergui at the opening ceremony of the 10th Focal Points meeting held by the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACRST).
Referring to specialisits’ estimates, Chergui stated that “2000 to 2005 might come back either to Europe, to their homeland or to Africa.”
According to Chergui, some armed terrorists returned to Somalia from Yemen. This issue must be “a priority one” as “especially as it requires “the exchange information and intelligence between all partners to get prepared,” affirmed the AU Peace and Security Commissioner.
Regarding Libya, the AU official stressed that following the recovery of Sirte city by forces of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA); from the terrorist group ISIS, the situation requires “an increased attention” whether at borders with Tunisia or in all countries of Sahel region.
“We need an almost permanent attention” regarding this issue, he affirmed.
In response to a question on the possible creation of an “African force” under the banner of the UN, the same official ruled out such a possibility.
Afripol soon operational
As part of AU’s efforts to establish a continental counterterrorism strategy, the organization has mobilized two technical groups that are working in coordination with the UN and African countries to draw up the Conops (Concept of Operations) of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL)
Once we draw up the Conops, “we will present it to the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and the UN Security Council,” announced Chergui.
AFRIPOL, which will be soon operational, “will contribute to strengthening responses of penal justice to terrorism through consolidating cooperation between police and other law enforcement agencies in Africa,” stated Chergui.
Besides, he underscored the importance of “strengthening cooperation with the UN and all partners to face terrorism.”

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