African security ministers meet declaring ‘war against terrorism’

Attendees of the regional countering violent extremism conference stand in silent tribute for those who lost their lives in fighting against terrorism during the regional countering violent extremism conference in Nairobi. President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed not to relent in the war against terrorism, saying bold and co-ordinated actions from international community were critical to eliminate violent extremism. XINHUA PHOTO - SUN RUIBO

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Security ministers from African states have resolved to revitalize the war against terrorism to strengthen peace, stability and sustainable development.

The ministers pledged new and decisive measures to defeat terrorism in a communique adopted late Saturday during the closure of a regional conference on countering violent extremism held in Nairobi.

Kenya’s minister for internal security Joseph Nkaissery said African countries will strengthen cooperation to reboot counter- terrorism measures.

“Violent extremism has gained foothold in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and northern Africa region.

“Terrorists seek to harm our cherished ideals while reversing the latest socio-economic progress in the continent,” said Nkaissery.

Dozens of African security ministers, diplomats and scholars attended the regional conference on countering violent extremism in Nairobi.

There was a consensus on the need for African states to share best practices that would neutralize the military and ideological strength of militant groups.

“We are grappling with one of the most potent threat to the survival of nation states.

“Terrorists are training their guns on civilians to cause fear and despondency.

“We must therefore enhance our tactical approach to this enemy,” Nkaissery told African security ministers at the closing ceremony.

He added that regional forums will reignite the war against terrorism through sharing of best practices to root out push factors like youth unemployment, governance lapses and weak policing.

Countries in the East and Horn of Africa require a joint strategy to combat terrorism effectively.

The Ugandan minister for internal affairs, Aronda Nyakayirima stressed that regional cooperation in defense and outreach programs is key to counter the spread of violent ideologies.

Both Uganda and Kenya have borne the brunt of ‘al-Shabaab’ mayhem after the East African nations deployed their troops to Somalia to root out the militants.

Nyakayirima noted that robust intelligence sharing and surveillance at the ports of entry have foiled terror plots in the region.

Terrorist groups have exploited a vacuum created by civil strife and collapse of nation states to cause havoc.

The Libyan Undersecretary for interior, Mostafa Dabashe noted that franchises of major terrorist networks like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have flourished in strife torn Sahel and North African region.

“Countries engulfed in civil disorder have provided a bleeding ground for militants.

“Terrorists will find it difficult to thrive in states that are stable, cohesive and economically vibrant,” Dabashe said.

African countries will implement the recommendations endorsed at the Nairobi conference to re-invent the war against terrorism.

Kenyan Principal Secretary for internal security, Ambassador Monica Juma said a taskforce comprising experts from different countries will monitor the implementation of these recommendations.

“We have just kicked off a multifaceted dialogue to find alternative and more sustainable ways to fight violent extremism in the continent,” Juma said.

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