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AU blames terrorism on foreign millitary interventions
16/05/2015 00:00:00
by Matebeleland North Correspondent
 
 
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THE African Union (AU) has said it is concerned about increase in terrorist activities in the continent blaming such crises on foreign military intervention.

The continental body feels a home grown military force would end instability and ensure peace prevails by “closing out” western powers’ interference under the guise of military help.

Speaking at the close of the 8th ordinary meeting of the AU Ministers of Defence in Victoria Falls on Friday, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui called on member states to desist from reliance on foreign military intervention.

He said terrorist activities that include radicalism and extremism were on the rise especially in West Africa, North Africa and East Africa.

“You will also agree with me that the rise of terrorism and extremism is the major challenge that is negatively affecting some parts of our continent.

Terrorist activities have expanded in our continent with East Africa, West Africa and North Africa being the most affected regions,” said Chergui.

He added: “While it is important to address some of the contributing factors such as poverty and lack of opportunities in our continent, we should urgently mobilise the necessary intelligence to effectively fight terrorism and to address the conditions that give rise to radicalisation and extremism.”

AU is in the process of establishing a unified force to be called the Africa Standby Force (ASF) and should be operationalised by year end.

The force, in which each of the five economic sub-regions-Southern, East, West, North and Central Africa would contribute 5,000 men and women to make a grand 25, 000 force, has been on the cards for several years as AU was failing to implement it because of lack of funding.

The AU needs about $1 Billion to operationalise the force whose battalions will be stationed in respective countries ready for deployment.

The continent hopes to mobilise funding for the force in respective member states and through international donor partners such as European Union and United Nations.

Chairperson of the AU Ministers of Defence and Security Sydney Sekeramayi, who is also Zimbabwe Defence Minister said the continent was bedeviled by instability due to terrorist activities.

He appealed to member states to be cautious of foreign military help in resolving problems.



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“This meeting comes at a time when there is rising insecurity and terrorism in our continent. This is the time for us to combine efforts and be guided by principles of our founding fathers as well as the need to safeguard the fundamental freedoms of future generations.

“We should be cautions of being over dependent on foreign assistance in resolving our problems. The intended operationalization of the ASF will be a positive development in maintaining peace and also minimize involvement of foreigners,” Dr Sekeramayi.

Some of the crises zones the ministers touched on are Togo, Burundi, Mali, Somalia and Central Africa Republic.


 
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