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African countries to set up regional mechanism to fight terrorism

15 October 2013, 09:10 Chrispinus Omar

Nairobi - African countries plan to set up a regional mechanism to collectively fight terrorism, which has emerged as a major threat to regional peace and stability.

Foreign ministers from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East Africa Community (EAC) have also instructed Chiefs of the General Staff as well as security and intelligence of member states to coordinate their efforts in order to stabilize the region.

"Ethiopia shall convey an invitation to hold the meeting of chiefs of security and intelligence at the beginning of November," the foreign ministers said in a joint communique issued in Nairobi on Monday.

The foreign ministers also reaffirmed their determination to support the efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators who planned and executed the Westgate terrorist attack that claimed over 70 lives and more than 200 injuries.

"They reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate and coordinate their counter terrorism efforts, and to fight extremism in all its forms and manifestations," the communique read.

IGAD is a regional trading bloc consisting of eight African countries - Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda, while EAC is an intergovernmental organization comprising five countries - Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The foreign ministers welcomed significant progress made in Somalia on the political and security fronts which has seen the Horn of Africa nation gain foothold on the Somali soil.

"The foreign ministers from IGAD and EAC expressed deep concern on the serious threat that Al Shabaab/Al Qaida continues to pose to the peace and security of Somalia and the Eastern Africa region, " the joint statement said.

The communique, which was issued after the Addis Ababa meeting over the weekend, came after the EAC police chiefs resolved to set up various centers of excellence in the region to build capacity to handle various challenges in the member countries.

The centers will focus on gender-based violence, disaster mitigation, criminal investigation, disarmament and public order management. The centers will offer a range of training for police forces in the East African region with the goal of building capacity.

A meeting of regional police chiefs convened over the weekend agreed that Uganda will host the center of excellence for community policing while Rwanda will host the center of excellence for both training and gender based violence.

- Xinhua


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