The UN Chief Mr Guterres says, in just a matter of years, Africa has become the “global epicentre of terrorism”.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on African leaders to root out terrorism and violent extremism on the continent.
Mr Guterres made the call at a two-day top-level meeting of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact at UN headquarters in New York.
The meeting, which started on Wednesday, will address rising violence and the spread of terrorist networks.
According to Mr Guterres, in just a matter of years, Africa has become the “global epicentre of terrorism”, with groups such as Da’esh, Al-Qaida and their affiliates exploiting local conflicts and fragilities to serve their own ends.
He empahsied that violent extremism should be rooted out, noting that terror groups are “shredding the social fabric of entire countries with the blades of violence, mistrust and fear”.
“Community by community, terrorist groups are extending their reach,” he said, adding that networks are widening, adding fighters and resources, and making common cause with transnational organised crime.
“In every case, civilians are paying the highest price and, in the end, all of humanity pays.”
Addressing an audience of counter-terrorism experts, government officials and civil society and private sector representatives, Mr Guterres said the crisis must be tackled head on before it spins out of control.
He highlighted initiatives such as the multinational task force in the Lake Chad Basin countering Boko Haram as well as the African Union (AU) Transition Mission in Somalia in addition to Security Council Resolution 2719 on financing AU-led peace support operations.
“But, we need urgent action on a much larger scale than we’ve seen to date,” the UN chief said.
The root causes of terrorism – fragility and instability – must be addressed, he continued, pointing to the New Agenda for Peace he launched last July.
He said efforts to counter terrorism must be anchored in human rights and strategies focus on the marginalized and vulnerable.
Participants at the meeting will also consider how counter-terrorism efforts can be aligned with the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the AU’s Agenda 2063.
Launched in 2018, the Counter-Terrorism Compact is a network of 46 UN and non-UN entities.
It also includes INTERPOL, the World Customs Organisation and the Financial Action Task Force, which combats money laundering and terrorism financing. (NAN)