“Senior Law Enforcement Officers Must be Frank with Policymakers on Addressing Conditions that Foster Violent Extremism…” –AU Special Representative for Counter Terrorism Cooperation

AFRIPOL

AU Special Representative for Counter Terrorism Cooperation and Director of the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), H.E Larry Gbevlo-Lartey Esq., has underscored the need for Senior Law Enforcement Officers to be frank with policymakers on the need to addressing conditions that foster Violent Extremism and the running of criminal economies in local communities in Africa.

Addressing the Second General Assembly of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), on the 16th October 2018 in Algiers, Mr Gbevlo-Lartey indicated that problems of governance issues such as exclusion, corruption and impunity of the political elite as well as grievances necessitated by unemployment, lack of opportunity, relative poverty and hopelessness are conditions that make large communities of educated and uneducated aggrieved persons vulnerable to Extremists exploitation. “The situation of the political elite captured states where local communities are excluded from the process of decision making, renders such communities prone to use violence as means of self-expression for a dignified livelihood and to engage in criminal economies or Transnational Organized Crime” he added.

Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) have become major concerns on the African continent. The Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, The Horn of Africa and the Old Trans-Saharan Trade Routes in particular have become conducive not for only Violent Extremism, but entire economy of criminal activities run on those routes. In order to address the problem of TOC, Mr Gbevlo-Lartey noted that there is the need to properly engage local communities in the Trans-Saharan Region by raising awareness of the issue so as to win over the communities and deny space to Violent extremist groups to operate.

He revealed that a combination of both National Security and Human Security approaches are essential to properly address the issues of exclusion, impunity over centralization, by ensuring decentralization, community protection, empowerment and resilience as well as the creation of opportunities to deny Violent Extremists the space for radicalization and recruitment of the youth. Mr Gbevlo-Lartey indicated that the onus responsibility is on Senior Law Enforcement Officers to be frank with policymakers and offer them the necessary advice to create conditions conducive for people to have a sense of belonging and community resilience for a peaceful-coexistence in conflict prone areas.

The Second General Assembly of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) was attended by H.E Ambassador Smail Chergui, AU Peace and Security Commissioner, General Secretary of Interpol, Jürgen Stock Executive, Representatives of the Algerian Government, Chiefs of Police and their representatives from AU Member States. In addition, regional and international police cooperation organizations such as, INTERPOL, AMERIPOL, EUROPOL, the Gulf Police Force (GCC-POL) and the Council of Arab Ministers of Interior and observers from America, Asia and Europe were present at the meeting