When African heads of state and government gathered last week in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, they expected to discuss agriculture and food security. Instead, talks at the 23rd African Union (AU) summit focused on counter-terrorism.
The increasing number of attacks by extremists on the continent is causing great concern to African leaders.
“Silencing the guns by 2020 is the priority so that populations can cultivate the land,” AU Commission head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said at the 2-day event, which wrapped up on Friday (June 27th).
In his address to the summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged the African leaders “to work towards the development of their countries, which is an effective weapon to combat and eradicate instability, violence and terrorism”.
“In the face of the horror of terrorist acts and particularly the massacres of civilians and other barbarous kidnappings, Africa is duty-bound not only to speak with one voice but also to act with a single iron fist to curb violence and terror,” he said Friday at a meeting about the proposed African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (CARIC).
“Volunteer countries will create this force, which is open to all African countries,” he explained.
African countries which will undertake limited operations “at the appropriate place and at the right time”, Ould Abdel Aziz added.
“The countries concerned must provide the means necessary to manage the African rapid intervention forces and share intelligence, in order to gain a forward-looking view of areas of tension and deal with the problem promptly if necessary,” the AU chief explained.
There is an urgent need on the continent for this kind of joint security force, in order to combat jihadist groups and terrorism “stoked by religious extremists”, security analyst Sidati Ould Cheikh told Magharebia.
Full article: Africa to deploy joint intervention force (Magharebia)