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Japan funds $370,000 border mgt training for seven African countries

BY: Sebastian Syme
 Mr Sebastian Syme (left), Daily Graphic Reporter, in an interaction with Mr Dominic Sam (right), Country Director of UNDP, and Mr Shigeru Umetsu (middle), Charge d'Affaires at the Japanese Embassy. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
Mr Sebastian Syme (left), Daily Graphic Reporter, in an interaction with Mr Dominic Sam (right), Country Director of UNDP, and Mr Shigeru Umetsu (middle), Charge d'Affaires at the Japanese Embassy. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

A $370,000 border management training project for security agencies for seven Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries has been launched to enhance their capabilities against extremism and terrorism in West Africa and the Sahel Region.

The one-year project dubbed, “Strengthening border control capabilities against extremism and terrorism in West Africa and the Sahel” is organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Japanese Embassy.

Funded by the Japanese government, the programme will be implemented by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).

Benefits to countries

The beneficiary countries are Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Niger.

Briefing journalists on the programme yesterday, the Country Director of the UNDP, Mr Dominic Sam, said in view of the growing concerns over the rising spate of terrorism and extremism in West Africa and the Sahel, security agencies needed cutting-edge intelligence, skills and strategies to deal with the issue.

“Violent extremism and terrorism respect no borders. They are more sophisticated, diffused and difficult to track,” Mr Sam added.

Dealing with the phenomenon, he explained, required the state-of-the-art intelligence and cross-border collaboration among security institutions and underscored that; It is better to be proactive rather than reactionary in dealing with terrorism.”

Japanese support

The Deputy Chief of Mission at the Japanese Embassy in Accra, Mr Shigeru Umetsu, stated that the project formed part of Japan’s commitment to peace and stability in the ECOWAS region in particular and Africa as a whole.

He said more than 90 security personnel from the seven countries were expected to benefit from the training programme.

For Ghana, personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Police Service, the military and other intelligence outfit will benefit from the exercise.

Mr Umetsu told the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the launch that the Japanese government at the last Tokyo International Conference on Trade and Development (TICAD) held in Nairobi, pledged to fund a training course for African countries in the wake of terrorism and extremism.

He said the time had come for the training to begin, which, he said, would improve the responses of member states within the context of the rising radicalism, extremism and terror attacks orchestrated partly by domestic and transnational criminal networks in West Africa.