The African Union (AU) has called on African countries to exert robust security collaboration and coordination to prevent terrorist and criminal groups from deepening their roots in the continent.
The urgent call was made by Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, director of Conflict Management within the AU's Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, as he underscored the crucial need to exert concerted efforts as security threats continue to emerge and mutate in different parts of the continent.
The AU director made the remarks during a peace and security-themed meeting, which is underway in Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania, on Nov. 5-7, with particular emphasis on addressing security threats in the Sahel-Sahara and Horn of Africa regions, according to an AU statement issued Monday.
"The security situations in the two regions continue to deteriorate, exacerbated by the governance challenges witnessed in some of the countries and the outbreak of the conflict in Sudan, creating a political and security vacuum and triggering the influx of foreign fighters and weapons," he said.
Bah called for a multidimensional response approach, combining military action, police and law enforcement cooperation, and cross-border cooperation along with stabilization and reconstruction efforts towards a holistic response against the scourge.
The director further expressed concerns that terrorist groups could spread to the coastal countries and link up with transnational criminal groups involved in piracy and armed robbery, as well as with human and contraband trafficking gangs, to fund their operations.
"States must, therefore, focus on fully operationalizing maritime security architecture as an integral part of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). This will contribute to fighting arms trafficking through the sea and cutting off sinister financial schemes sustaining terrorist and criminal networks through trafficking and smuggling," he said.
Bah highlighted ongoing regional approaches that underlined the seriousness with which states are joining efforts to effectively combat, degrade and defeat the terrorist and criminal groups operating in the region.
According to the AU, the three-day meeting, among other things, seeks to reflect on the growing threat of terrorism, with a view to reaching a shared appreciation of the scope, dimensions and magnitude of the threat.
The meeting envisaged creating agreement on modalities towards enhanced information and intelligence sharing and cooperation while also identifying ways to support AU member states to address existential threats, and collectively agree on modalities and roadmap for collaboration in 2024, the AU said.