via ‘Terrorism, extremism major threats to Africa’s stability’ | The Herald November 6, 2013
THE biggest threats to Africa’s stability and security are terrorism and extremism and intelligence chiefs on the continent need to provide solutions on how to deal with the scourge, intelligence chiefs from the continent meeting in Harare have said.
The intelligence chiefs, meeting under the auspices of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa, said in a communique after a two-day meeting yesterday that the public wanted to know the measures being taken to counter terrorism on the continent.
“The Bureau of the CISSA conference was convened by the chairperson of CISSA and the Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation of Zimbabwe, Major-General (Rtd) Happyton Bonyongwe, to discuss the escalating threat of terrorism and extremism in Africa,” said the intelligence chiefs.
“This followed the realisation that the number and scale of terrorist attacks on the continent was on an upward trajectory and that terrorism and extremism were becoming the biggest threats to security and stability on the African continent.”
The intelligence chief said the meeting brought together the leadership of CISSA to exchange perspectives and provide intelligence and strategic leadership to the “expectant continental public on the actual situation and the measures that should be taken to dilute the menace”.
The meeting was attended by intelligence chiefs from Algeria, Botswana, Cote D’lvoire, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Lesotho, Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Kenya, Mali and Somalia, which are not members of the Bureau, were also represented.
Meanwhile, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has urged African intelligence organisations to unite and design strategies to combat terrorism.
In his address at the official dinner of the Bureau meeting of CISSA on Monday, Minister Chinamasa said terrorism could destabilise governments and threatens social and economic development which has a direct impact on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights.
“Law enforcement helps in disrupting terrorist plots through arrests, incapacitate terrorists through incarceration resulting from prosecution. The threat of terrorism is diverse and any country fighting terrorism must also respect international law,” he said.
“It is evident that terrorism is a gross violation of fundamental human rights and Government has both a right and duty to take action to protect its citizens. The constitutional limits within which democratic societies must operate are sometimes seen as conflicting directly with a desire to protect citizens against terrorist activity.
“Terrorism can destabilise governments and threaten social and economic development which have a direct impact on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. In the desire to combat terrorism in a modern political context, nations often face conflicting goals and courses of action.”
Minister Chinamasa urged human rights activists to embrace some measures taken to counter terrorism since it had broader and deeper negative effects on society.
“Human rights activists forget that the logical target of countering terrorism is to deter the future activities by applying a series of policies which increase the security of society such as setting up control cameras in crowded places such as terminals, increasing number of officers and security checks and eavesdropping which can undermine some liberties such as the right to privacy, he said.
“Law enforcement helps in disrupting terrorist plots through arrests, and incapacitates terrorists through incarceration resulting from prosecution.”
Minister Chinamasa emphasised the need to defeat terrorism which he said required going after terrorists and taking their groups apart.
Rtd Maj Gen Bonyongwe said the bureau meeting had come against the backdrop of increasing incidents of international terrorism in Africa.
“We continue to witness the most heinous and barbaric acts of terrorism in part driven by religious extremism, he said. The meeting is reflective of the will and commitment to address the threat on our continent.”
Rtd Maj Gen Bonyongwe said the fight against terrorism was a multifaceted venture in which the law played a pivotal role.