Ethiopia: AU to hold anti-Boko Haram donor-pledging conference

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) -The African Union (AU) Heads of State Assembly approved the holding of a donor pledging conference in Addis Ababa on Monday, to raise funds to support a continental response to the Boko Haram threat in West Africa and the Sahel region, an AU official said Sunday.

AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui said the donor pledging conference was agreed as a response to the series of deadly terrorist attacks witnessed in the past few months.

“We had serious attacks. We have decided to take serious measures to remedy the situation. The eradication of this scourge (terrorism) is urgent. It is important for the international community to realize that terrorism is growing and that terrorists travel far and wide,” Chergui told a news conference.

He said while the fight against terrorism was gaining momentum across the West African region, with Boko Haram currently left without territorial control, Africa required the means to act.

“The fight against terrorism will continue to be on the table. We need the mechanisms and the capacity to be enhanced for those who may not have the capacity to handle it,” the AU official said.

During the AU-sponsored donor pledging conference, the AU said it would encourage foreign partners to help finance efforts to consolidate the successes in fighting the Boko Haram insurgents.

“They no longer occupy a territory. They have shifted to having little girls walking around with explosive belts,” Chergui said.

According to the official, the creation of a continental force against the Nigeria-based Boko Haram was advanced.

Currently, AU experts preparing for the deployment of the force are in Germany for training on the structures that would be required to have the anti-Boko Haram operating efficiently.

Other steps discussed at the AU Summit against Boko Haram included the need for an end to the “criminal economy” feeding the work of the armed groups in the Sahel region.

According to Chergui, the terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso, which has had no known history of terrorist attacks, was the work of militants from northern Mali.

Meanwhile, the AU Summit has expressed concern over the growing political tension in Guinea Bissau.

According to Chergui, the summit discussed the tension between the majority party in Guinea Bissau and the government.

The Heads of State asked Guinea Bissau to tackle this situation before it goes out of control. The country has suffered from a series of politically-motivated coups.

-0- PANA AO/AR 31Jan2016

31 january 2016 18:07:10

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