By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
Terrorist onslaughts in Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Somalia, Kenya, and other countries in Africa, are slowing down the continent’s efforts in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), displacing millions of people and destroying lives and properties.
Africa has so many issues to contend with and the governments must realize that the
security of the people must be prioritized and therefore all efforts, through local and international, must be made to tackle and stop radical terrorism in the continent. An attack in one country is a springboard for an attack in a neighboring country because of the porous borders and poor security measures.
We are seeing such cases in Nigeria and Niger, Somalia and Kenya, and others, showing a pattern of determination by these groups to commit atrocities across borders.
- On 24 May 2017 in Mandera, and on 25 May 2017 in Garissa, Kenya, Al-Shabaab terrorists attack resulted in the death of police and security officers.
- In Egypt, gunmen linked to a terrorist group killed at least 29 Coptic Christians and wounded more than 25 others, in the Minya province, which lies to the south of the capital, Cairo.
- In Nigeria, Boko Haram activities are derailing the country’s socio-economic growth. According to the WHO, the destruction of about 477 out of the existing 749
health facilities, and inaccessibility to some communities across Borno State, due to activities of the Boko Haram sect, hindered effective service delivery by healthcare providers.
- In Mali, three Malian groups with previous al-Qaeda links recently joined forces to create the “Group to Support Islam and Muslims” (GSIM), led by Iyad Ag Ghaly of Ansar Dine, recently ambushed a military convoy in the country’s west-central region killing at least eight Malian soldiers.
The stories are overwhelming and more heinous activities are committed in the name of religions that ironically speak against such loathed activities.
In no way does religion tells people to go on the rampage and kill innocent people, women, children, the elderly, and the sick. In no way will man fight for GOD.
Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.”
Terrorism is above all murder. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an. Qur’an 6:151 says, “and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.”
African countries should stand up to terrorist ideologies by taking proactive measures to stop any such development at an earlier stage. It is in the interest of the countries and the continent as a whole, not to allow this barbaric miasma to continue to hold the continent to ransom.
Calls are being made and the United Nations and the African Union are doing the best they could to mobilise the continent to fight this global nemesis. But how committed are the governments in fully implementing anti-terrorist laws in their countries?
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, made a statement of commitment to support the Member States in their efforts to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism and calls for enhanced international cooperation in this fight.
The African Union Counter-Terrorism Framework
In 1992, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), meeting at its 28th Ordinary Session, held in Dakar, Senegal, adopted a Resolution on the Strengthening of Cooperation and Coordination among the African States [AHG/Res.213 (XXVIII)] in which the Union pledged to fight the phenomena of extremism and terrorism. At its 30th Ordinary Session held in Tunis, Tunisia, in June 1994, the OAU adopted the Declaration on the Code of Conduct for Inter-African Relations [AHG/Del.2 (XXX)], in which it rejected all forms of extremism and terrorism, whether under the pretext of sectarianism, tribalism, ethnicity or religion.
Unfortunately, while the international community is doing everything possible to help Africa to counter and contain terrorism in the continent, African governments are still struggling to address the many pinpricks that expose the continent to threats of terrorism.
Poor security, porous borders, high level of poverty and illiteracy, corruption, and tribal and regional divide, are being exploited by people with terrorist intent to infiltrate the countries and brainwash the vulnerable youths in society into perpetrating heinous crimes.
AfDB president Akinwumi A. Adesina said at the Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank Group, Ahmedabad, India, “Africa’s youth unemployment stares us in the face, stirs up our conscience and calls us to action. Africa’s youth don’t need handouts; they need support to spark their creativity and unleash their entrepreneurship. We are taking action…”
The statement of Adesina is a challenge to African countries to take up action and address the economic needs of the people. But in other for Africa to do so, the pin pricks must be addressed, otherwise, the millions of young people who believed they are being neglected and marginalised become easy prey for dangerous radical indoctrination.
Civic education should be fully utilised in the continent’s education system with the aim of educating children and young people about the importance of civic responsibilities. Because in most African countries, this aspect of education is lacking and pupils are left to the mercy of their religious teachers to teach them about moral issues and responsibilities.
What will a government expect then if a teacher in question is a religious fanatic?
Yet, in the rural sectors and villages, these are the people who serve as education providers while the government education systems are nowhere to be seen.
The AU President H.E. Mr.Moussa Faki Mahamat, said on the occasion of the 54th Africa Day, Addis Ababa, “The African population reached, in this May 2017, more than 1.2 billion inhabitants, or just under 17% of the world population with an average age of 19.5 years. This makes Africa the second most populous continent in the world after Asia and also the continent with the youngest economically active population.
However, all is not lost. The core of the AU’s goal, for now, should be centred in stopping terrorism and not allow the mentality to spread throughout the continent by engaging the African governments to stop talking but take action.