Partners strategise on national protection against terrorism

Namibia family pic

PRIME Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhi­la says in addition to what Namibia is already doing to counter terrorism, it is important that the country continues to improve its efforts against terrorism and violent extremism.
She said this at the official opening of the national multi-stakeholder workshop on the prevention and combating of violent extremism and radicalisation yesterday.

The workshop, organised by the Namibia Central Intelligence Services, in collaboration with the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), was initiated as part of the implementation of the national terrorism strategy which came as a result of recommendations from an assessment on Namibia’s preparedness and effectiveness in preventing and countering terrorism and related acts. The assessment was conducted by experts from the ِِACSRT.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the idea to bring together government and other partners at the workshop was to underline the need for collaborative efforts in dealing with the threats of violent extremism, radicalisation and terrorism.

Speaking to the attendees from religious organisations, the legal fraternity and government officials, she said although Namibia has enjoyed a peaceful history, relatively free from violent extremists, the threats of violent extremism still exist.

“There is no single pathway to violent extremism. Our efforts should thus be multifaceted, addressing the multiple forms in which this ill may occur,” she stated.

Making reference to a UN General Assembly plan of action to prevent violent extremism, the premier noted that it is important to address social issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment, as extremists thrive in such environments.

“The plan of action to prevent violent extremism calls for coherent and concerted efforts by the international community to systematically address the drivers of radicalisation in order to prevent the further spread of violent extremist ideologies,” Kuu­gongelwa-Amadhila said.

She also listed poor governance, democracy deficits, corruption and conflicts amongst communities as favourable circumstances for violent extremism.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila added that Namibia addresses the challenges of poverty and unemployment through its various social and economic policies, such as the Harambee Prosperity Plan and the draft NDP5, which both aim to promote shared prosperity.

Also speaking at the opening session, the African Union Commission chairperson’s special representative on counter-terrorism cooperation and ACSRT director, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, said Namibia organising the workshop is beginning to create the necessary awareness and starting to get everyone to understand that what is happening now is not just a role for the intelligence and law enforcement agencies, but that it should be a societal approach.

“For instance, the ministry of education is very much involved in this because they have to understand very clearly what children are being taught, and they are not going to leave some children to be taught extremist literature,” Gbevlo-Lartey said.

The workshop is scheduled to continue today, where the adoption of its conclusions and recommendations will be considered.