1. The 4th meeting of the Heads of Intelligence and Security Services (HISS) of the member countries of the Djibouti Process on the Enhancement of Security Cooperation in the East Africa Region took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 5 December 2016. The meeting was organized by the African Union Commission (AUC), in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East African Community (EAC).
2. The following countries participated in the meeting: Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan. In addition to the AUC, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the AU Mission for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL), and the AU-led Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA) also took part in the meeting.
3. The opening ceremony was marked by statements made by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, as well as by the representatives of the Executive Secretary of IGAD and the Secretary General of EAC.
OVERALL SECURITY SITUATION IN THE IGAD AND EAC REGIONS
4. The meeting afforded the participants an opportunity to consider the security situation in the region and review the steps taken since the 3rd meeting of the IGAD and EAC HISS in Addis Ababa, from 7 to 8 December 2015. In this regard, substantive contributions were delivered by the Special Representative of the AU Chairperson in Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, and the Heads of National Intelligence and Security Services. Representatives from the IGAD and EAC regions, the African Centre for the Study & Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), and the AU Committee of Intelligence and Security Services (CISSA) also contributed to the briefing.
5. Participants reiterated their deep concern about some recent developments that took place in the East Africa region. They noted upcoming national polls in the region and the challenges to peace and security posed. They outlined issues of controversy surrounding elections and the necessity of Member States to address these concerns.
6. Regarding the situation in Somalia, they conveyed deep concerns over the increasing number of attacks against civilians and senior military officers as well as AMISOM troops in Mogadishu and across the country. Participants commended the AMISOM Police and Troop Contributing Countries (P/TCCs) for the progress made in the fight against the al-Shabaab terrorist group.
7. Participants noted that al-Shabaab is re-organizing and re-grouping and remains highly adaptive with the changing environment. They also observed that al-Shabaab is persisting in its efforts to destabilize neighboring countries, chiefly through cross-border raids into Kenya and through the deployment of specialized units with a mission to project their armed struggle beyond Somalia’s borders.
8. Although al-Shabaab remains the dominant jihadist presence in the region, the so-called Islamic State (IS) has been aggressively seeking to establish its influence. In northeastern Somalia, the so-called IS has attracted a marginal splinter group of al-Shabaab and while they have recently suffered defeat in Sirte, Libya and in the Sinai region of Egypt, they may try to spread into the East Africa region. Participants further assessed that as the so-called IS loses ground in Iraq, Syria and Libya, there is a possibility that some of its fighters, and particularly those of African origin, might take advantage of the instability in the Middle East and look to establish bases in the region as part of their new strategy to decentralize command.
9. In light of the developments in the Middle East and North Africa, participants expressed concern about the formation of new terrorist groups in the East and Horn of Africa region such as Jahba East Africa, a group that has pledged allegiance to the IS and others.
10. Participants briefed the meeting on their respective security challenges and efforts underway to address them. They further noted with concern the growing threat posed by domestic terrorist groups, as well as negative forces such as the Alliance for Democratic Forces (ADF-NALU) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) who have growing linkages to terrorists’ organizations.
11. The meeting also discussed the threats related to the terrorist use of innovative Information Communication Technology and recognized the changing nature of radicalization in the region through the use of social media and reiterated the need for continued vigilance.
12. The Heads of Intelligence and Security Services recognized the continued challenges from cyber-attacks, transnational crime, bio-terrorism, poaching, , and human and arms trafficking, poaching and the resurgence of piracy. In particular, they noted the growing threat of drug trafficking, with the East Africa region becoming a transit point for trade into Europe. They welcomed, in this respect, the actions taken by Member States to enhance security cooperation on these critical issues.
13. Participants noted the vulnerability posed by the weak presence of State Authority in border areas as these areas can provide safe havens for the illicit activities.
14. The meeting also noted the looming threats of climate change and a sobering economic outlook that will make efforts to tackle the transversal challenges of terrorism and transnational crime even more challenging.
STATE OF IMPLEMENTATION AND POINTS OF ACTION
15. Uganda, in its capacity as the Chair of the Djibouti process, briefed the participants of the meeting on the state of implementation of the operational conclusions of the previous HISS meetings. Participants took the following points of action:
(i) Took note of the presentations made by CAERT, AMISOM, RCI-LRA, and CISSA and welcomed efforts by the Djibouti Process member countries to prioritize community outreach and engagement to isolate terrorists and other criminal groups as part of a de-radicalization strategy.
(ii) Affirmed the work done by member countries to enhance the sharing of operational intelligence on terrorism and other threats facing the region.
(iii) Called for the sharing of the list of regional terrorist groups and for joint-monitoring of radical clerics and NGOs which are engaged in the radicalization of youth in member countries.
(iv) Welcomed the progress made to address the funding of terrorism through financial sources such as drug and human trafficking, poaching, using counterfeit documents and money laundering, and encouraged a redoubling of efforts in this regard.
(v) Encouraged the continued monitoring of internet and social media, which can be used to facilitate the radicalization of youth and their recruitment into terrorist groups.
(vi) Acknowledged the progress made in addressing local grievances and the structural conditions conducive to terrorism, and urged member countries to spare no effort in continuing this effort.
(vii) Took note of the efforts made so far by IGAD and EAC on the establishment of the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) between IGAD and EAC and committed to further discuss the modalities for the establishment of the JOC between IGAD and EAC.
(viii) Called for the urgent dispatch of a joint CISSA-ACSRT-UFL mission to Somalia to exchange views on security challenges and further urged the Djibouti process member countries to develop modalities for full support to the Somalia NISA.
(ix) Agreed on a roadmap proposed by the Chair of the Djibouti Process for the urgent deployment of personnel to the Regional Fusion and Liaison Unit (RUFL) in Kampala, Uganda and the secondement of intelligence officers to the AMISOM Mission Analysis Cell (MAC).
(x) The meeting agreed that the AU Commission shall send letters to the HISS of the member countries to request the necessary contributions for the establishment and operationalization of the RUFL.
(xi) Agreed to organize a joint meeting between the Nouakchott and Djibouti processes to discuss common threats and best practices.
(xii) Agreed to undertake a visit to Burundi and the modalities for the conduct of such mission would be discussed between the Commission and Burundi.
Finally, all participants underscored the unprecedented scale of the threats posed by terrorism and called for greater information sharing, enhanced interaction and the use of more sophisticated technologies. All participants reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen regional security mechanisms and to continue cooperation in order to address grave threats to security in the East African region. Participants agreed to convene their 5th meeting in March 2017. The exact date and venue will be communicated after due consultations.
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