Find innovative ways to fight terrorism - Kan Dapaah urges security experts
The Minister of National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, has called on security experts in West Africa to fashion out innovative approaches to dealing with terrorism in the sub-region.
He said effective counter-terrorism and counter-extremism measures were key to charting new paths in strategies that would safeguard the security of the region.
Speaking at the non-state actors conference on the Accra Initiative yesterday, the minister noted that terrorism was a major threat to the sub-region.
He said recent attacks in some West African states were indicative of the spread of terrorism from the Sahel region to coastal West Africa.
The two-day conference is aimed at mobilising all state and non-state actors, as well as various relevant partners, to create a synergy of actions around the objective of combating terrorism and violent extremism in the initiative area.
Participants include security experts from the member states and representatives of civil society organisations, international organisations, think tanks, academics and researchers, members of the Diplomatic Corps in Ghana, government agencies, the security agencies, among others.
Some of the issues being discussed are current security challenges confronting West African countries (challenges coming from the north, home-grown challenges, maritime security) and a credible, preventive and coordinated response and key steps in building resilience in the region.
The Accra Initiative is an organisation made up of Heads of State and Government of some West African countries to find a more effective response to the rise of violent extremism and the expansion of terrorism and transnational organised crime in the sub-region.
Member states include Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire.
The objectives of the Accra Initiative are in line with the counter-terrorism framework of both the African Union and ECOWAS.
Mr Kan-Dapaah expressed concern over the latest Global Terrorism Index, which pointed out that the Sahel and West Africa were epicentres of terrorism and violent extremism, with four countries in the region featuring in the top 10 countries in the world as the most impacted by terrorism.
He said in the first quarter of 2022, 364 terrorist attacks were recorded in Africa, 49 per cent of which occurred in West Africa.
“Also, between July 1 and September 30, 2022 alone, 264 terrorist attacks, resulting in 745 fatalities and 239 injuries, were recorded in West Africa,” he said.
The minister said the prominence given to the threat of terrorism and violent extremism in recent times should not be interpreted as the trivialisation of other prevailing security threats, such as cross-border crimes, among others, which remained key impediments to regional security and development
The Executive Director of the Accra Initiative, Benedict Dere, giving some background on the organisation, said it was established with the main objective of strengthening operational collaboration among member states and aimed at dismantling terrorist networks and preventing the expansion of their cells, combating transnational organised crime and preventing radicalisation and violent extremism.