IGAD backs UN anti-extremism efforts
21 January 2016, 10:03
Nairobi - The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Wednesday expressed its commitment to support all international efforts geared towards preventing and countering violent extremism which is a threat to global peace and security.
The bloc Executive Secretary, Mahboub Maalim welcomed the UN Secretary-General's Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, an initiative to support countries to prevent and respond to the growth of violent extremism through a development lens.
"Violent extremism offers a conducive environment for the spread of terrorism," Maalim said in a statement released in Nairobi.
"It is therefore critical that the international community collectively engages in addressing the conditions to the spread of violent extremism as clearly state in the UN Plan of Action," he said.
The strategy appeals for concerted action by the international community, and provides more than 70 recommendations to Member States and the United Nations System to prevent the further spread of violent extremism.
Maalim said IGAD acknowledges that the Plan of Action offers a comprehensive roadmap to prevent violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.
He added that successful implementation of the Plan of Action requires regional and international partnership, cooperation and coordination.
"In this partnership, we must ensure that prevention and counter violent extremism strategies are undertaken within the principles of respect for human rights and rule of law," Maalim said.
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Security experts admit that violent extremism has had a devastating social and economic impact across the continent.
Terrorist groups such as Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab from Somalia and Nigeria's Boko Haram have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, increasing instability in the region.
Last week, Al-Shabaab fighters rammed a suicide car bomb at the Africa Union military base in Gedo region of southern Somalia to gain entry, killing unknown number of soldiers and injured several others.
According to UN estimates, since 2011, more than 21,000 people have been killed in over 4000 terrorist attacks in Africa.
The operations of Boko Haram, for example, have internally displaced 1.2 million people and forced more than 200,000 Nigerians to flee to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
In Kenya, Al-Shabaab activities have resulted in a slum in the tourism sector, a vital source of jobs and income for the country.
The IGAD chief called on its Member States to revitalize their efforts in preventing and countering violent extremism and support the efforts of the international community and particularly the UN in this regard.
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