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The Peace and Security Council of the African Union, at its 628th meeting held on 28 September 2016, adopted the following decision on counter-terrorism and counter violent extremism in Africa:

Council,

1.    Takes note of the briefing by the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) on Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Violent Extremism in Africa;

2.    Recalls its earlier decisions and pronouncements on terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, particularly, Press Statement PSC/PR/BR (DXCII) adopted at its 592nd meeting held in Addis Ababa on 19 April 2016; Communiqué PSC/AHG/COMM.1 (DLXXI) adopted at its 571st meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa on 29 January 2016 and Press Statement PSC/PR/BR.2 (DLX) adopted at its 560th meeting held in Addis Ababa on 26 November 2015;

3.    Expresses deep concern over the continuing scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, as well as radicalization in Africa, including the emergence of new terrorist groups such as Jahba East Africa, Macina Liberation Front (MLF) in Mali, and Benghazi Defense Companies (BDC) in Libya. Also expresses deep concern over the seemingly growing capacity of terrorist organizations to finance their activities, among others, through transnational organized crime;

4.    Further expresses deep concern over the negative economic effects of travel advisories issued by some international partners against some AU Member States that have long been victims of terrorist attacks, in terms of losses of revenue flows from tourism. In this regard, Council urges the international community to consult with the affected countries, in order to review the situations with a view to lifting the travel advisories;

5.    Reaffirms the continued relevance of the AU normative and policy framework for preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism, and reiterates its call upon all AU Member States, that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify, without further delay, the 2004 Protocol to the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, the AU Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (Niamey Convention), which contains provisions on cooperation in the area of security, including combating terrorism and transnational organized crime, and other  relevant international instruments;

6.    Urges Member States to exert their utmost efforts in order to effectively address the underlying conditions conducive for the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization, including, among others, poverty, marginalization, unemployment, as well as economic, social and political exclusion. In the same context, Council stresses the urgent need for building national capacities to provide a sustained counter-narrative against the terrorist and extremist narrative and propaganda using all available means, including social media, the internet, and electronic and print media;

7.    Emphasizes the importance of enhanced border and immigration control measures, including at ports of entry. In the same context, Council also emphasizes the need to closely monitor illicit financial flows, effectively combat money laundering and detection of suspicious travel;

8.    Once again underlines the importance of enhanced cooperation between and among Member States, including through timely information and intelligence sharing, as well as joint operations, as critical success factors in the prevention and combating of the emerging cross border nature of terrorism and violent extremism;

9.    Stresses the importance of regional actions in the context of combating terrorism and violent extremism. In this regard, Council recognizes the efforts and activities exerted, including those by ECOWAS, G5 and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), and in particular through the ongoing initiatives in the framework of the Nouakchott Process, in the strengthening of security cooperation and the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharan region;


10.    Underscores the need for renewed efforts to prevent financing of terrorism and urges the AU Commission to enhance support to Member States to develop measures to effectively track and monitor activities and transactions related to financing of terrorism, in accordance with the relevant African and international instruments. In this context, Council looks forward to the early operationalization of the AU Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), as part of the efforts to combat transnational organized crime and terrorism;

11.    Commends the efforts of the Commission, including through ACSRT and CISSA in supporting Member States to implement the AU counter?terrorism framework and underscores the importance of enhanced collaboration and cooperation between both institutions. In the same vein, Council reemphasizes the need to keep the momentum of receiving quarterly briefings by ACSRT and CISSA on counter-terrorism efforts in Africa;

12.    Further commends the Commission for its continued engagement with the international partners, both bilateral and multilateral, including the United Nations and its relevant agencies, to support the efforts of AU Member States in the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism;

13.    Expresses sincere gratitude to the bilateral and multilateral partners for their continued support to the AU counter?terrorism, counter-violent extremism and counter-radicalization efforts in Africa;

14.    Looks forward to the implementation of decision Assembly/AU/Dec.614 (XXVII) on the establishment of an AU Special Fund on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa, adopted by Heads of State and Government at their 27th  Ordinary Session held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 17 to 18 July 2016. In this regard, Council appeals to Member States to make voluntary financial contributions and to provide technical support to AU efforts against terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization in Africa;

15.    Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Limi Mohammed

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