AU calls for collective African and international efforts to deal with growing threat of terrorism in Africa

Dr. Nkosazana Zuma - AU Chair
Dr. Nkosazana Zuma – AU Chair

The African Union (AU) has called for collective African and international efforts to deal with the growing threat of terrorism and extremism in Africa, following the terror attacks in Burkina Faso.

The group calling itself Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack. The same group was responsible for a similar attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Malian capital, Bamako in November 2015. 19 people were killed in that attack.

In a press statement condemning the Ouagadougou attacks which started Friday night at the Splendid Hotel, the AU Chair, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma stressed the imperative need for strengthened and always better coordinated collective African and international efforts to deal with the growing threat of terrorism and extremism on the continent.

She reiterated her call to Member States to enhance their cooperation within the framework of the relevant African and international instruments.

The statement indicates that she reaffirms the vital importance of establishing, quickly, an Intervention Force to be deployed in northern Mali, to fight against the criminal and terrorist groups operating from that region towards other countries of the Sahel, as envisaged in the Conclusions of the meeting, held in Bamako, on September 4, 2015, by the Defence Ministers of the Member countries of the Nouakchott Process on Enhanced Security Cooperation and Operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharan Region.

She expressed her condolences and support to the families of the victims, the people and government of Burkina Faso on what she calls “this painful occasion,” and reiterates the determination of the AU to continue to support Burkina Faso in its efforts towards reconciliation and reform.

The terrorists killed 23 people reported to be from 18 different countries. Burkinabe security and French Special Forces ended the siege Saturday morning. 10 of the bodies were found at a café opposite the hotel, one attacker who was holding up in another hotel nearby, was shot dead by security forces.

123 people were rescued in the operation.

Burkina Faso is coming out of a difficult moment of political turbulence following the popular ouster of long-term ruler Blaise Compaore in November 2014. The uprising ended his 27-year rule which he wanted to extend. Soon after that there was a military coup that nearly stalled the march to democracy.

Last November however, the country organised successfully an election that elected the current President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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