In this file photo, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed gestures as she delivers a speech to students of Kawangware primary school, during a visit in Nairobi on March 1, 2022. (SIMON MAINA / AFP)
UNITED NATIONS – Terrorism is intensifying across Africa, exploiting instability and conflict, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said on Thursday.
"Terrorists and violent extremists including Da'esh, Al-Qaida and their affiliates have exploited instability and conflict to increase their activities and intensify attacks across the continent," the UN deputy chief told the Security Council high-level debate on "Counter-Terrorism in Africa – an Imperative for Peace, Security and Development" on behalf of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
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"Their senseless, terror-fueled violence has killed and wounded thousands and many more continue to suffer from the broader impact of terrorism on their lives and livelihoods," she said.
Countering international terrorism requires effective multilateral responses … We must address the instability and conflict that can lead to terrorism in the first place, as well as the conditions exploited by terrorists in pursuit of their agendas.
Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General
"Terrorist and violent extremist groups aggravate instability and human suffering. And they can plunge a country emerging from war back into the depths of conflict," Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, terrorists, non-state armed groups and criminal networks often pursue different agendas and strategies, fueled by smuggling, human trafficking, and other methods of illicit financing – sometimes impersonating legitimate armed forces, said the UN deputy chief.
And as digital tools spread hate and disinformation, terrorists and other criminal groups are exploiting inter-communal tensions and food insecurity triggered by climate change, she added.
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In today's hyper-connected world, Mohammed said, the spread of terrorism in Africa is "not a concern for African member states alone."
"The challenge belongs to us all. Countering international terrorism requires effective multilateral responses," she added.
Outlining five suggestions to advance counter-terrorism efforts in Africa, Mohammed reminded that "prevention remains our best response."
"We must address the instability and conflict that can lead to terrorism in the first place, as well as the conditions exploited by terrorists in pursuit of their agendas."
The UN deputy chief called for community-based, and gender-sensitive "whole-of-society" approaches.
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Other suggestions include calling for "sustained and predictable funding" to prevent and counter terrorism.