Daily Trust (Abuja)

31 January 2014

Africa: Proliferation of Arms Escalating Conflict in Africa - Nigeria President

President Goodluck Jonathan says proliferation of small arms and light weapons is escalating conflict in Africa.

Jonathan, who spoke yesterday at a meeting centred on peace and security in Africa at the ongoing 22nd Ordinary Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said the menace had encouraged terrorism, piracy and other forms of violent crimes.

The president, who blamed the situation on the porous nature of the borders, stressed the need to develop mechanisms to halt illicit flow of arms.

He said the mechanisms would require collaboration of the law enforcement agents in terms of intelligence gathering.

According to him, sustainable peace and security should be a major preoccupation of African leaders to bequeath to the future generations; a peaceful, buoyant and strong continent what would be a leading player in world affairs.

He said despite the progress achieved in tackling the threats to peace and security in Africa, recent developments in several nations were taking the continent back to a time when it witnessed a preponderance of conflicts with debilitating consequences for socio economic development and enduring democracy.

Jonathan described the crises in the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan a reminder of Africa's instability, saying "CAR has witnessed social unrest and ultimately fighting for some time now. The leadership that emerged following the exit of President Bozize was not able to secure peace in the country. We condemn the looting and reprisal killings going in the country that should be brought to an immediate end".

He regretted that while the situation in Somalia was progressively improving; the situations in Mali, Guinea Bissau and Democratic Republic of Congo were still fragile.

He therefore urged African leaders to remain resolute in finding solution to those crises; the situation, he said, reflected the weakness of the institutions for maintaining peace in the continent.

"The present situation has given rise to further debate on the need for urgent establishment of the proposed African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC). However, important and urgent as this may appear, the fact is that we've, within our African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), enough instruments that'll prevent conflict from degenerating into war. Although we've agreed on the establishment of the ACIRC as an interim arrangement pending the operationalization of the African Standby Force by 2015, it must be said that the present situation provides us the opportunity to renew the existing mechanisms for conflict prevention in order to make them very effective.

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