Terrorism is expanding in the Sahel region — a region encompassing western and northwestern Africa, an African Union (AU) official said on Monday.
“The whole of West Africa is on alert,” Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security told reporters following the closed-door 32nd Summit about the State of Security in Africa.
Chergui said that terrorism was expanding on a “daily basis” in the region and that Africa was ill-prepared against the threat which he said was “imported.”
He described even Burkina Faso — a site of relative calm in West Africa — as facing an expanding menace of criminal and terrorist attacks.
Chergui said the AU and UN agreed to cooperate on convening a national reconciliation conference in Libya. The date is yet to be announced, he added.
“Libyan people have suffered enough,” he said, adding that it was armed groups, militias and external meddling that further complicated an already convoluted situation, without naming any single interfering foreign power.
He said that the planned reconciliation conference on Libya would be inclusive and that all Libyan stakeholders would take part, underlining that the country’s situation affected neighboring countries as well, referring to a recent attack in Chad by armed men coming out of Libya.
On Somalia, Chergui said that while some challenges remained, progress was being made on “implementing the federal transitional plan.”
“We want to prepare the Somali National Forces to take over security,” he added, stressing that this could only be achieved after “positive development”.
An African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) — a multinational armed intervention in the country located in the Horn of Africa — has been keeping the peace in Somalia as the militant group Al-Shabaab continues its attacks.
Chergui said South Sudan was respecting the ceasefire as provided for in the peace deal reached by the warring parties on Sept. 12, 2018.
He appealed to the international community to provide the necessary financial resources for South Sudan to support the implementation of the peace process as opposing forces in the eastern African nation prepared to form a “Revitalized — Transitional Government of National Unity” in May.