AU vows strong anti-terror response after Algerian hostage crisis

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union (AU) has promised a strong response to the Algerian hostage crisis which led to the killing dozens of captives, Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra said Tuesday.

Speaking after an Algerian Special Forces unit ended a hostage crisis, leaving 37 foreign workers and 29 militants dead, Lamamra said a response strategy would include a joint approach by Africans to train more forces.

The AU Summit due to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, later this week is also expected to consider boosting counter-terrorism approaches and intelligence cooperation.

“The terrorism at the Algerian gas facility shows that they are evolving into multinationals,” Lamamra told PANA on the sidelines of a meeting of African Ambassadors to prepare the Summit agenda.

“The involvement of the six nationalities shows this has become a truly multinational affair. Africa has to respond. We will respond through the strengthening of cooperation,” he vowed.

Earlier, AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma condemned the terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas plant, Algeria, by the splinter group of the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

“This heinous act cannot be justified under any circumstances. It confirms our concerns over the worsening scourge of terrorism in the Sahelo-Saharan region,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

The AU is outlining a three-point plan to deal with terrorism: Training of extra forces to combat growing Islamist terrorism threats, putting in place enhanced laws to deal with terrorism and enhancing the exchange of information among the various governments to curb the threat of terrorism.

“We also need political resolve and the exchange of information. The judiciary in Africa will also play a strong role,” Lamamra added.

Meanwhile, while several foreign governments initially criticised the operation to free the hostages, the AU praised the Algerian army for being professional in its approach.

“We have to be more determined to defeat terrorism. The message is that we would not bow our principles while dealing with terrorists,” Lamamra said.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 22Jan2013

22 يناير 2013 07:11:58

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