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AU: Terrorism a major challenge for African security

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Ambassador Mull Katende, chairman of Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union spoke in Johannesburg

By Hassan Isilow –JOHANNESBURG

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union said Thursday it had made progress in addressing certain conflicts on the continent, but still faced challenges of growing terrorism and radicalization.

‘‘The threat of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization continues to grow in certain parts of our continent,’’ Ambassador Mull Katende, chairman of the PSC of the African Union told legislators of the Pan- African Parliament in Johannesburg.

He said al-Qaeda, Daesh, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups continued to expand in Africa because they capitalized on the existence of ungoverned spaces in some African states.

‘‘Libya is a classic example of what happens in situations of state failure or collapse. As such, the prevailing situation on the ground requires us to redouble our efforts and persevere,’’ he told the continental assembly.

Katende said the PSC reaffirmed the need for a comprehensive approach in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists by addressing root causes of their rebellion that has wrecked havoc in northern Nigeria for years.

He said in the longer term there was a need of supplementing military action with social-economic development projects in communities liberated from Boko Haram.

‘‘Doing so will significantly deprive the terrorist group of support and recruitment grounds,’’ he said.

Commenting on the situation in South Sudan, the diplomat said ‘‘the overall political, security and humanitarian situations remains extremely volatile”.

Progress in Somalia

Ambassador Katende revealed that Somalia had witnessed some significant political progress in the past four months, following the election of a new president, prime minister, cabinet and members of parliament.

He said a constitutional review process was underway, as well as the procedure of forming new regional administrations.

‘‘Evidence gathered by the PSC is that the capacity of al-Shabaab to wage direct military confrontation against AMISOM forces has been significantly degraded and weakened,” he said.

He said AMISOM, known as African Union Mission in Somalia continues to liberate many areas from the al-Shabaab militants affiliated to al-Qaeda.

‘‘However, I wish to state it categorically, that al-Shabaab is still far from being defeated. It still retains the capacity to stage deadly attacks using suicide bombs and powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” he added.

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