AU members states link forces on terrorism fighting

14May 2022
The Guardian
AU members states link forces on terrorism fighting

​​​​​​​A  TOP level working group on defence, peace and security in the African Union (AU) has agreed to set up a joint military command and a coordination centre to strengthen the fight against terrorism.

​​​​​​​Dr Stergomena Tax.

Dr Stergomena Tax, the minister for Defence and National Service made this affirmation after a session of the sectoral ministerial conference, a meeting preceded by a meeting of experts on May 9 and 10, and a conference of defence chiefs on May 10.

She referred to the terrorism challenge in the southern part of Tanzania though located on the other side of the border in Mozambique, noting that it is a cross border problem. “We have discussed and recognized that it is important to establish a joint military and a centre where member states will contribute troops to combat terrorism,” she stated.

Other security and safety challenges will be addressed by exchanging information, experiences and training to strengthen the fight, she further stated.

Hamad Masauni, the minister for Home Affairs, made reference to discussion on African countries cooperating to fight cross-border crime, noting that several strategies will anchor joint efforts in the fight against trafficking in drugs and humans.

These areas of breaches of security will be coordinated in tandem with terrorism, human trafficking and drugs “as it has become a matter of comfort to see all member states agreeing to this idea,” he said.

These decisions await approval from Heads of State in the next meeting billed for July, he said, while Inspector General (IGP) Simon Sirro said that police chiefs had agreed on behalf of safety and security bodies to exchange information on cross-border crime.

“We have extensively discussed crime in Africa and especially cross border crimes such as terrorism,” he said, describing it as a very serious challenge. So we are going to work as a team, exchanging information to face up to the challenge,” he emphasised.

The Tanzanian delegation Home Affairs minister Masauni, IGP Sirro and Major General Jacob Mkunda, the chief of operations for the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF), along with several senior government officials.

In follow up meetings, the conference adopted two protocols on priority for the protection of children and their rights, emanating from concerns on child protection in African Union peace support operations in its 2021 report. There was also input on mainstreaming child protection in African peace and security architecture, he added.