SADC calls for information sharing to counter terrorism

DAR ES SALAAM: THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states ought to be proactive in sharing information related to acts of terrorism among each other for the region to effectively counter the challenge.

SADC Regional Counter Terrorism Centre (SADC-RCTC) Coordinator, Colonel Mumbi Mulenga made the appeal on the sidelines of a familiarisation tour on operationalisation of the centre by SADC member envoys accredited to Tanzania in Dar es Salaam, yesterday.

Colonel Mulenga viewed that terrorism remained to be a global security threat that affects human lives and properties at large, indicating that SADC region as part of the globe was not immune to such threats.

“Our request to member states is that the threat that we are confronted with is one that knows no boundaries…the only way we can succeed is by being proactive and engaging in information sharing among member states,” said Colonel Mumbi.

He added: “As long as information is restricted and we engage in narrow and nationalistic approaches to countering terrorism, we don’t stand a chance to win.

According to him, SADC needs a regional approach to confront this threat, indicating that member states need to share their information with their counterparts in effectively dealing with the problem in the region.

“By member states’ refraining from sharing their information this is in itself a barrier towards what the centre can do…this is a threat that could only be defeated with timely and reliable sharing of information,” he said.

Such information on terrorism includes movement of foreign terrorist fighters, financing of terrorist activities including activities of acts of terrorism which are suspected.

He noted that every member state has their own realities that are specific to reach, saying even though the centre is encouraging a regional approach, they appeal to member states to come up with national strategies that would speak to realities obtained in their jurisdictions.

The coordinator observed that the role of the centre begins by advising member states on policies and programmes that aim at reducing the threat of terrorism from manifesting from member states.

Currently, only two of the member states are confronted with the threat of terrorism, the Northern parts of Mozambique in Cabo Delgado province and the Eastern parts of DR Congo.

On some of the successes attained by the centre, he noted that there has been a deployment of SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) who have done a tremendous job in neutralising and defeating the terrorists there.

“The current status is confined to a small territory in Northern Mozambique…most parts of Cabo Delgado province have become free from terror attacks,” he said.

Elaborating further, he said the SAMIM has achieved quite a lot since its deployment. The security situation in the region speaks for itself, as out of 16 member states, only two are currently affected with the threat, reflecting that the centre is doing well.

“We are doing a lot in sensitising member states that have not been affected to continue engaging in pro-active activities such as border management to tighten the border controls so as to monitor movements of foreign terrorists or certain individuals that may go to member states and foment ideas of terrorism,” he said.

On the other hand, the centre is also engaging member states to identify possible areas that can drive recruitment and radicalisation.

For his part, Ambassador of Mozambique to Tanzania, Mr Ricardo Mtumbuida who represented the SADC envoys appealed to fellow member states to join efforts by sharing information so that acts of terrorism from any of the countries do not have a spillover effect.

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