…As UN says hunger intensifies in 9 African countries, others***
African Union’s Peace and Security Council has called for a comprehensive approach to combat transnational threat of terrorism in Africa.
The call came as the UN laments biting hunger, due to lack of access to adequate food in nine African countries, amongst others, following growing acts of terrorism.
A statement by Spokesman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Tope Elias-Fatile, on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the council made the call in a communiqué at the end of its 749th meeting in Ethiopia.
The meeting was held at the level of Heads of State and Government, on the sidelines of the 30th AU Summit in Addis Ababa.
The council condemned all terrorist acts, methods, practices and incitements, regardless of the pretext under which they were committed.
It reiterated its strong displeasure over violent extremist ideologies and narratives, and recognised the integral role of the phenomena in the execution of terrorist acts.
The council noted with deep concern, the immense threats to peace and security as a result of upsurge of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation in Africa.
It also underscored AU’s continued commitment to “inclusive approaches and African ownership within the context of African solutions to the problems plaguing the continent’’.
It underlined Africa’s commitment to international counter-terrorism regime as outlined by relevant OAU/AU treaties and conventions, UN Security Council resolutions and the UN Global Counter-terrorism strategy.
The council encouraged member-states to develop their own comprehensive national counter-terrorism strategies focusing on prevention as well as on timely and swift responses to terrorist acts.
It urged the members to adopt holistic approaches in addressing root causes of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization, focusing attention to the plight of the youth and marginalized sections of society.
It stressed the importance of coordination and complementary efforts among member-states and all relevant regional and international actors in preventing and countering terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization.
The council also stressed the importance of inter-regional continental and international forums of cooperation in the prevention and combating of terrorism.
It called for constructive engagement of a broad range of actors in the fight against terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization.
It expressed deep concern over the threat posed by the return of Foreign Terrorist Fighters from conflict zones outside the continent.
In this regard, the council requested the AU Commission and partners to sustain assistance to member-states in building and further strengthening national capacities in order to enable them to more effectively deal with threats.
It urged members to take measures to dry up the flow of terrorism financing by cutting the links between terrorist organizations and organized crime, including trafficking, smuggling and illicit trade.
Meanwhile, food insecurity, or lack of access to enough food, continues to worsen in 16 countries, nine of them in Africa are torn by conflict, UN agencies have reported.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) highlighted the extremely critical importance of humanitarian support for affected countries.
The agencies listed the countries monitored to include Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.
The others are Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.
The countries are classified as most affected by acute hunger.
Conflict is a common factor undermining food security in all 16 countries covered in the report, which formed part of the bi-annual briefings to the UN Security Council on food security.
According to the report, the intensification of conflicts is a key reason behind the recent resurgence of world hunger levels, following decades of steady declines.
Among them, Yemen, South Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, CAR, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Somalia have a quarter or more of the population facing crisis or emergency levels of hunger.
In Yemen, 60 per cent of the population, or 17 million people, are affected by acute hunger.
These figures are 45 per cent, or 4.8 million, in South Sudan, 33 per cent, or 6.5 million, in Syria, and 33 per cent, or 1.9 million, in Lebanon – a country hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees.
But these are far from being the only countries flagged as cause for concern.
In the DRC, where serious food security concerns have been overshadowed by crises in other parts of Africa, the situation is rapidly deteriorating, the report warns.
There, 11 per cent of the population is now in the crisis phase or above, adding up to 7.7 million people who are coping with acute hunger.
In Sudan, 3.8 million people are in the crisis phase or above, in Iraq, that figure is 3.2 million while in the Lake Chad basin, the number is 2.9 million people.
In Burundi and Haiti, it is 1.8 and 1.3 million, respectively.
According to data, the number of hungry people worldwide rose to 815 million people in 2016, up from 777 million the year before.
The report stated that majority of the hungry, or 489 million people, live in countries wracked by conflict.