1. The 3rd meeting of the Heads of Intelligence and Security Services of the countries of the Sahelo-Saharan region was held in N’Djamena on 10 September 2013. The following countries and organizations participated in the meeting: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. In addition to the Commission of the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Community of Sahelo-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), the AU Mission in Mali, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) and the Fusion and Liaison Unit (UFL) also took part in the meeting.

2. The meeting was held within the framework of the implementation of the conclusions of the ministerial meeting on the enhancement of security cooperation and the operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) in the Sahelo-Sahara region, held in Nouakchott, on 17 March 2013, and in follow-up to the first and second meetings of the Heads of Intelligence and Security Services of the countries of the region, held in Bamako, on 18 April 2013, and in Abidjan, from 20 to 21 June 2013.

3. The opening ceremony was marked by the statements made by Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, and Mr. Mahamat Adji Ngoua, Deputy Minister for Interior and Security.

4. The meeting considered the developments of the security situation in the region and the steps taken towards the implementation of the Operational Conclusions adopted in Abidjan.

5. The meeting noted that while progress has been made in dealing with the security challenges facing the region, the situation nonetheless remains of concern. Accordingly, there is need for continued vigilance and determined efforts to deepen security cooperation, based on a unified vision of collective security, transparency, and shared responsibility.

6. The meeting welcomed the steps taken towards the implementation of the Abidjan conclusions, highlighting in particular the following:

(i) the joint ACSRT-CISSA-UFL consultation mission to Libya, from 3 to 5 September 2013, and the organization, by the AU Commission in collaboration with the Libyan Government, of the workshop on enhancing operational land border security in the Sahelo-Sharan region, from 4 to 5 September 2013. In this regard, the meeting expressed its gratitude to the Libyan Government for facilitating the joint ACSRT-CISSA-UFL mission to Libya, as well as for all the arrangements made to ensure the successful conduct of the workshop;

(ii) the production and dissemination of the special edition of the ACSRT’s Daily News Highlight devoted to the Sahel region; and

(iii) the production and dissemination to the countries of the region of relevant AU and ECOWAS counter-terrorism policy documents.

7. The meeting also noted that the regular meetings of the Heads of Intelligence and Security Services have proved to be a valuable confidence building tool, while also contributing to fostering collaboration among all concerned services.

8. The meeting stressed the need for renewed efforts to implement the outstanding provisions of the Abidjan conclusions, notably:

(i) the finalization and dissemination, within fifteen days, by the ACSRT and CISSA, of the capacity building matrix;

(ii) the holding of the capacity building activities identified by ACSRT, within the newly-agreed timelines;

(iii) the implementation of other trainings activities on intelligence collection and analysis, as part of the capacity building programme facilitated by the AU Commission. Such activities will be directed towards introducing best practices and methods for intelligence gathering and analysis, equipping members of the intelligence community with the required skills and education, as well lessons learned, benefiting from the experiences of countries in the region and beyond. In this regard, the AU Commission, ACSRT, CISSA and UFL will engage AU member states and partners on organizing such trainings and seminars;

(iv) the presentation of a report on the emerging and non-conventional threats to peace and security in the region; and

(v) the effective follow-up of the recommendations of the assessment mission that visited Niger, from 10 to 15 June 2013.

9. Furthermore, the meeting agreed on the following steps:

(i) the identification of existing security arrangements and agreements among the countries of the region and assessment of their implementation status, with the objective of supporting their operationalization and enhancing their effectiveness, where appropriate. The Commission will circulate a questionnaire to all countries of the region to seek the required information. Responses are expected within a month;

(ii) the development, based on existing experiences, of a generic concept of operations for joint patrols and mixed units, with the view to assisting the countries of the region in their efforts, learning from successful experiences, including the arrangement between Chad, Niger and Nigeria. A draft concept of operations should be circulated within 45 days;

(iii) timely adoption of the required measures to ensure the follow-up of the Tripoli workshop conclusions on the enhancement of border security and the recommendations of the assessment mission to Libya;

(iv) convening, by the AU, working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), of a meeting that will bring together countries of origin, transit and host countries to discuss issues of common concern, including security of refugee camps, in order to agree on practical measures;

(v) initiation by the AU Commission, and on the basis of the relevant AU policies and decisions, of a reflection on the links between illegal migration and security;

(vi) convening, by the Commission in collaboration with the relevant partners, of a capacity building workshop on counter-trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials;

(vii) enhancing communication of information and intelligence from the relevant mechanisms to the concerned countries and vice-versa. In this respect, ACSRT, CISSA and UFL will update their member countries on the existing mechanisms; and

(viii) missions by the AU High Representative for Mali and Sahel as appropriate within the region to assist in furthering and consolidating confidence.

10. The participants expressed their gratitude to the Chadian authorities for the warm reception accorded to them and for all the arrangements that ensured the smooth holding of the meeting.

Posted by Lulit Kebede
Last updated by Tchioffo Kodjo

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