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May 20, 2024
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Counter-Terrorism: African Leaders, UN Adopt Abuja Declaration

African leaders, including Heads of State and Government, Ministers of Defence, National Security Advisors, representatives of regional organisations, UN and others, have adopted the Abuja Declaration to tackle terrorism in Africa.

The declaration made at the end of the High-Level African Counter-Terrorism Meeting, held on Monday and Tuesday in Abuja, was presented by the National Coordinator, National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Maj.-Gen. Adamu Laka.

The event has the theme “Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Institution Building to Address the Evolving Threat of Terrorism in Africa.”

The declaration, among other things, recognised the continuing relevance of the instruments adopted by the African Union, including the communiqués of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council, as well as relevant normative frameworks of all participating Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms.

These, according to the declaration, are aimed at addressing the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism on the African continent.

According to the declaration, African leaders acknowledge that the growing activities of terrorist groups and the lethality of their attacks, particularly in parts of West Africa and the Sahel, Central, Eastern, and Northern Africa, is exacerbating insecurity in these regions.

“Note that terrorist groups with affiliations to Al-Qaeda and/or Da’esh capitalize on local grievances, frequently rooted in inequalities, poor governance, lack of development, violations, and abuses of human rights, as well as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, to forge extensive operational networks and disseminate radical ideologies.

“Further notes that these groups exploit instability and conflict to escalate attacks across the continent and expand their zone of influence and control.

The declaration emphasized an African-led and African-owned approach to countering terrorism, strengthening regional and sub-regional cooperation, encouraging prevention and effective countermeasures to address the spread of terrorism, and building capacities of Member States critically challenged by terrorism and violent extremist tendencies.

They declared to undertake to expressly reaffirm their collective commitment to strengthening the security of African States in line with the Common African Defence and Security Policy and within the spirit of finding African solutions to Africa’s security challenges.

They urged all UN and AU member states to enhance cooperation and collaboration in fighting the scourges of terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism.

They called upon all external actors to cease support for terrorist groups on the continent and reiterated the request for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) from the continent.

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