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Rising conflicts have weakened response to terrorism, says Igad

By Patrick Beja | Dec 20th 2021 | 2 min read

Dr Worknch Gebeyehu addresses African leaders during the State of African region at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

An intergovernmental agency has warned that conflicts in the region have weakened the response to al-Shabaab and other terror groups.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) also noted that alongside conflict and Covid-19 were the twin challenges of drought and flooding which have caused a serious threat of food security status in the region.

In his state of the region address at the Sarova Whitesands beach resort in Mombasa at the weekend, Igad executive secretary Dr Workneh Gebeyehu noted the authority has documented an increase in the number of terror attacks in Somalia, the escape and re-apprehension of terror suspects in Kenya and the recent bombing in Uganda.

“Regional peace and security have also begun recording some setbacks as a result of the ripple effect of these active conflicts," said Gebeheyu.

He added; “Of principal concern is a weakening of the regional response to Al-Shabaab and other terror groups. We are also alive to the prospect of these conflicts facilitating the further proliferation of illegal firearms into the region.” 

He noted that a global report on food crises showed that an estimated 37.2 million or one out of every seven people are expected to be acutely food insecure in the Igad region.

Igad represents Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Somalia.

He noted that the cocktail of climate change, conflict, and covid-19 continued to drive displacement in the Igad region as a consequence of the challenges they pose to the physical, economic and social security of the people.

“In the Igad region at approximately five per cent, we have one of the highest rates of displacement totalling 12.3 million people which consists of 4.2 million refugees and 8.1 million internally displaced persons,” said Gebeyehu.

He noted that Igad was worried that Africa has recorded 83 per cent increase in Covid-19 infections in the past week alone that have been attributed to the delta and omicron variants of Covid-19 that is more transmissible and resistant to selected vaccines.

“I am therefore compelled to caution that bearing these factors in mind, Igad, and Africa at large is now perhaps even more vulnerable than before to the worst effects of this pandemic,” he said.

He expressed concern that the average rate of vaccination in the Igad region stands at only 6.6 per cent.

“This is against a global average of 42.7 per cent or seven times more than we have vaccinated our people,” he said.

He noted that the orientation of the Igad biggest challenges this year shifted from the natural hazards posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, desert locust invasions, and flooding to focus on peace and security.



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