Rabat – The surge of Islamic State (IS) terrorist activity in Africa calls for stronger counter-terrorism measures, said Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, on March 30.
Speaking at a virtual ministerial meeting of the core group of the Global Coalition against Daesh, Bourita spoke of rising terrorist threats in Africa and suggested improving both state and sub-regional organization’s counter-terrorism capacities.
The minister explained that through capacity building Africa can ensure “more lasting results” in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh.
Bourita underlined Morocco’s commitment towards capacity building efforts on the continent, citing the work underway in Rabat to open the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism Training in Africa.
The new office in Rabat, the first of its kind on the African continent, will serve as a training hub for counter-terrorism, law enforcement, border security management, preventing the presence of radicals, and ensuring respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism.
Bourita also called for better coordination of international initiatives, noting that cooperation with the Group of Five Sahel countries (G5 Sahel) has “great potential.”
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Drawing on the conclusions from the first meeting of the coalition against IS threats in West Africa, Bourita underlined the necessity of securing information obtained on the battlefield, as well as the need for improved border security.
The minister also reminded that as IS lost control over the Middle East, Africa became the new target for the terrorist organization. Bourita stressed that the threat of terrorism is rapidly spreading throughout Africa, having reached the southern part of the continent.
According to the minister, 2020 was the deadliest year for the Sahel region, with a total of 4,250 people dead, an increase of 60% from 2019.
IS’ successful spread through Africa can be attributed to collaboration and transfer of knowledge to other terrorist groups, as well as through access to new technologies such as drones, he noted.
The Global Coalition against Daesh was created in September 2014, at the initiative of the United States, the Gulf states, Turkey, and Egypt.