Seminar on Counter-Terrorism in Central Africa

The African Centre of Studies and of Research on the Terrorism (ACSRT) held a three-day seminar, on 26 – 28 May 2008 in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo under the theme “Counter-Terrorism in Central Africa”.

The seminar brought together ACSRT Focal Points in Central African countries, Regional Economic Communities, Economic Community of Central Africa states (ECCAS) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), African experts from the Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon and Nigeria and experts from the Kingdom of Belgium and the Commission of the European Union.

The seminar was gives un opportunity to discuss threats and vulnerabilities of the terrorism phenomenon in the sub-region of Central Africa and also to examine ways to reinforce its capacity of counter terrorism in the context of the African Union Plan of Action on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (2002).

The opening ceremony was presided over by:

General of Division / Yvon Jacques NDOLOU, Minister to the Presidency, responsible for the National Defence, Former Fighters and the Mutilated of the War in Republic of the Congo;

Mr. Egidio De SOUSA SANTOS, Assistant of the General Secretary of ECCAS,

Ambassador Boubacar GAOUSSOU DIARRA, Director of ACSRT.

General NDOLOU congratulated the initiative taken by the ACSRT for opportunely organizing this seminar, he prased as well the countries of the sub-region who have eventually confronted the terrorism challenge through putting in application several measures on the local and regional levels.

He also recalled the constant and indefectible engagement of His Excellency Mr. Denis SASSOU NGUESSO, President of the Republic of the Congo for a stable and secure Africa

 

Given the numerous difficulties of counter terrorism which due especially to the multi-dimensional and cross-border character of terrorism; Mr. Egidio DA SOUSA expressed his wish to see quickly achieved a global adapted and coordinated response to overcome terrorism. He also underlined the necessity to respect human rights in the fight against terrorism, notably what imperative to conciliate the said issue with the peoples’ aspiration to the freely circulate in the space of ECCAS.

The Director of the ACSRT, after briefing the nature of terrorism and its different aspects, he pointed out the specificity of the African approach regarding the definition of terrorist act and criminal activities, which distinguishes them from fight of peoples for their national liberation, self-determination and combat against foreign occupation. In this regard, he pled for such dimension should be taken into account as a major security challenge in the preoccupations of African States.

He presented the mandate of the ACSRT and its mission highlighting its role in the Architecture of Peace and Security of the African Union, as a tool of excellence and expertise, in charge of following the implementation of the AU Plan Action (2002).

The Director of the ACSRT mentioned that the Republic of the Congo as an example of consistency and firmness in researching for solutions to the security problems facing the African continent. He referred in this regard to the period when the Republic of the Congo was at the head of the African Union in 1986 and in 2006, where the Pact of non-Aggression and of Common Defence was adopted to its initiative. He also said that the participation of the Republic of the Congo to many Peace support operations such as the current one in Central African Republic (FOMUC), is among others, worthy to be mentioned.

The Director of the CAERT equally pled to reinforce the African cooperation not only on the sub-regional level, but also among the sub-regions neighbour to combat the terrorism.

The Director of the CAERT also clarified the role of the focal points and experts in this seminar urging them to put their efforts together in order to find out convergent views regarding the perception of the terrorism threats.

During the seminar the African and international experts gave several presentations on the nature of terrorism threats in Central Africa, the vulnerabilities of this sub-region and the capacity of the Central African countries in fight against terrorism and their needs for technical assistance to strength their capacity.

A special attention was given to the armed conflicts, armed insurrections, the activities linked to the trans-national organized crime, the different phenomena of banditism and other criminal activities that characterize this sub-region.

The discussion groups enlisted the necessary recommendations to reinforce the capacities of the African States to fight terrorism in accordance with the action Plan (2002).

This seminar was organized in the framework of implementing process of evaluation of threats and vulnerabilities in the memberStates, expertise and experience of these States in the matter of fight against terrorism, Counter terrorism capacity in these States and their need for technical assistance. This seminar was the last one of a series of seminaries held earlier in the other sub-regions of the African continent, all of these seminars allowed to constitute a global overview on the situation of terrorism in the continent and the the capacity of African Union member States to counter terrorism .