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7 Feb 2014


Adoption of a series of measures for the Central Africa Subregion

The workshop "Police and security", held from 28 to 30 January in Libreville within the framework of the development of an integrated strategy to fight against terrorism and the proliferation of arms in Central Africa, ended with the adoption of a series of practical measures to deal with the scourge. The measures are built on four fundamental pillars sourced from the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. About forty participating experts gathered in the Gabonese capital particularly focused on the need to carry out preventive actions for "the elimination of conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism in the Central African region’’. In that regard, they discussed the need of promoting good governance, democracy, education and economic prosperity "to eliminate the elements that lead some people to join terrorism." Similarly, they encouraged the growing development, "the laws and specific policies to prevent radicalization and recruitment of terrorists, especially in prisons, in churches, mosques and schools", as well as the establishment of regional and national terrorism prevention action plans.

Actions aimed at the protection of citizens were also identified. On this point, experts suggested "a real risk analysis, including the movement of persons and preventing the mobility of terrorists across borders". Hence the need to strengthen the security of travel documents and identity particulars, taking into account the benefits offered by biometrics in screening operations.

Obligation to prosecute suspected terrorists

The third pillar that captivated the participants most, addresses the obligation to prosecute suspected terrorists. Beyond the best capacities of INTERPOL national central offices and its resources, as well as those of the Committee of the Central African Chiefs of Police, there is need to develop means to apprehend and bring to justice the suspected terrorists. Finally, participants adopted a road map to strengthen coordination with regional and international organizations on the response and crises management of terrorist attacks. Deadlines have been set for the effective implementation of various measures adopted in Libreville. They are considered as decisive steps in the development of a regional strategy, which will be fed in by the findings of a second thematic workshop (Customs and Immigration) scheduled in Bujumbura (Burundi), in April 2014. The findings will be presented to the 38th Ministerial Meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), in May or June 2014. The main challenge of this approach is the political endorsement of a common tool to legitimize actions that favor the fight against terrorism in the sub-region.

The Workshop was jointly organized by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), the United Nations Centre for Counterterrorism (UNCCT/CTITF), the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and the Gabonese Government. It benefited from the expertise of several subregional, regional and international organizations as well as that of representatives of civil society. Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principle, sent representatives, who worked under the guidance of Professor Wullson Mvomo Ela, Regional Coordinator of the Network against the terrorism and the proliferation of weapons in Central Africa.