AU and Arab League call for joint fight against terrorism

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zuma-picThe African Union and the Arab League have called for strengthened cooperation among nations in the region to defeat terrorism.

The call comes in the wake of an attack on Garissa University College in which 148 people were killed, and the two bodies said vital resources could be drained unless nations make joint efforts to defeat extremists.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the AU Commission’s chairperson, sent a message of condolence to Kenyans following the attack which she called “barbaric.”

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But the AU boss urged more cooperation by countries affected by Al-Shabaab, which on Thursday claimed responsibility for the Garissa attack.

“Dr Dlamini-Zuma underlines, once again, the need for renewed and coordinated African efforts to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism, within the framework of the relevant continental and international instruments,” a statement from the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa said.

“She reiterates the AU’s determination to continue supporting the efforts being deployed in this respect by the countries of the region,” the statement added.

REGIONAL FORCE

Such efforts already include the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the Djibouti Process on the Enhancement of Security Cooperation in East Africa, a brainchild of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi too sent his sympathies to the families of those who lost their loved ones in Garissa.

A statement from the League’s mission in Nairobi said Dr al-Arabi “remains confident the attack will strengthen the unity and resolve of the people and the government of Kenya to defeat and combat terrorism”.

The League is made up of 22 member states mainly in the Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.

It is currently facing the challenge of Al-Qaeda terror cells, the rise of ISIS and the threat of Al-Shabaab.

The Arab bloc said nations in the region should “join efforts in the fight against the scourge of terrorism, which represents serious threats and challenges to international and regional peace and security.”

Last week’s attack in Garissa was the most gruesome terror incident on Kenyan soil since the August 1998 attack on the US embassy in Nairobi in which 213 people died.

Tanzania’s leader of opposition Freeman Mbowe also sent his condolences saying the attack was a test on Kenya’s unity.

“It is a pity that our region is forced to divert much needed resources from development-focused expenditures to peace and security.

“It is my personal conviction that your government will overcome this testing time and all peace loving members of the regional and international community will stand united with the people of Kenya in not only condemning all acts of terrorism, but use all means necessary to fight and eradicate it,” he said in a message to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

World leaders have condemned the attack, vowing to give Kenya the support it needs to fight the terror group.

Malawi and Singapore are the latest countries to offer their sympathies.

Others are Sudan, the US, Canada, UK, Australia, China, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

-nation.co.ke

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