UN chief applauds determination of Africans to end terrorism

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday applauded the “determination of Africans” to find lasting solutions to terrorism.

“Guterres gave the commendation at a conference on counter-terrorism in Nairobi, Kenya,’’ his office said in a statement.

He said the “people of Africa are on the front line of efforts to tackle terrorism and the spread of violent extremism”.

The UN chief, however, warned that “terrorism is spreading and destabilising” regions in the continent, with resultant trauma hurting families and communities.

He emphasised that there was an urgent need for the international community to support affected member states.

Recalling how attackers laid siege to a hotel complex in Nairobi in January and killed 21 people, he expressed solidarity with victims of extremist attacks in Africa.

“The deteriorating situation in the Sahel and increasing risks in West Africa are also deeply concerning.

“This is amid ongoing attacks by armed militants in the Lake Chad region, central Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

“In light of these developments, there is an urgent need for the international community to support member states in this region,” Guterres said.

Welcoming the determination of Africans to find solutions to terrorism, the UN Secretary-General highlighted the “inspirational” role of women in prevention efforts.

He stated that women were taking matters into their own hands all over the continent, and fighting against the root causes of redicalisation.

“Women are engaging with local leaders, mayors, young people, children and their fellow men, to fight against exclusion, marginalisation, inequality and abuse, the conditions that lead many to radicalisation and conflict.

“Such efforts cannot succeed without long-term political commitment from the international community.

“In addition to strong and clear mandates from the Security Council, there should be sufficient, predictable and sustainable financial support for African peace-enforcing and counter-terrorism operations.

“We must not allow terrorism to undermine the great progress that is being made on this continent.

“An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa continues to be a top priority for the United Nations.”

The UN chief, while calling for greater efforts from African States and the international community to unite against terrorism, said more should be done to tackle the drivers of violent extremism.

“Nothing can justify terrorism and violent extremism, but we must also acknowledge that they do not arise in a vacuum.

“Actual or perceived injustice and promised empowerment become attractive wherever human rights are being violated, good governance is being ignored and aspirations are being crushed.

“A lack of education and poverty are factors behind radicalisation, but the final tipping point is often state-led violence and the abuse of power,” he said.

Guterres called on states to do more to address these risk factors, in addition to preventing conflicts, strengthening state institutions and civil society.

He also urged them to “build durable peace and promote sustainable development to tackle the poverty, inequality and lack of opportunities that feed despair”.

He noted that the organisation had prioritised in-house capacity-building projects for African countries on issues relating to the mitigation of the threat of foreign terrorist fighters, empowering youths, countering terrorist financing, and improving aviation security. (NAN)

– July 10, 2019 @ 17:12 GMT |

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