Central Africa: IGAD Eyeing On Research Outcomes to Strengthen Security

BISHOFTU - The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) expressed that it is ardently waiting for the outcome of researches being undertaken to evaluate its activities and way forward to strengthen security measures within member states.

IGAD Peace and Security Sector Program (ISSP) Director Commander Abebe Muluneh told The Ethiopian Herald that ISSP has been working in preventing transnational emerging, evolving and existing security threats in member states through research, coordination and capacity building.

Currently IGAD is conducting a study to evaluate its role of enabling the countries to overcome transnational crimes including terrorism, he said.

"The impact assessment currently being undertaken in member states will help to evaluate our efforts and to overcome shortcomings and to make fine-tune the way forward," he noted.

The assessment which will be finalized this fiscal year will also help IGAD to revise its policies and strategies, according to the director.

The study covers criminal information system, security institutions and assets, unilateral and multilateral security threats of member states, he mentioned.

The outcome of the study will help IGAD's vision to create regional cooperation platform in sharing criminal intelligence, standard of procedures, joint operation which the authority planned to implement in 2021/22 fiscal years.

"We want to strengthen the capacity of member states in tracking criminals and their activities through close cooperation in intelligence, technology, and experience sharing of strong security institutional culture."

IGAD will continue offering trainings on interpreting intelligence data into public information, perception and interpretation of forensic investigation, terrorists' prosecution, human trafficking, cyber-attack, financial sources and instruments of terrorists among others, the director pointed out.

Terrorist organizations have various reasons and goals. Individuals might join such groups for political and economic grievances, religious marginalization, unemployment, false promises, and for being forced by the terrorists, IGAD Counterterrorism Research and Analysis Expert Abebaw Behonegn said.

The leaders and many of the members of Al-Shabaab and many international terrorist groups are undertaking their movement and terrorism acts to achieve power to realize their extreme religious agenda than for economic benefit, he noted.

IGAD is conducting counterterrorism activities against Al-Shabaab and ISIS (Daesh) groups, through building capacity of member states to address the challenge individually and collectively since the terrorism crosses boundaries, as to Abebaw.

Terrorists are dynamic organizations. They keep changing their tactics and strategies. They are more agile than governments. "So, what we do is to cope with and be proactive as much as possible than the terrorists that's why all these researches, trainings, and other efforts are taking place," he said.

IGAD is also working to strengthen institutional capacity of law enforcement authorities and policy makers among others to address the challenge collectively and individually, he added.

Terrorism is a transnational problem, "so, we encourage countries to work together through various means including information sharing," Abebaw noted.

IGAD has been coordinating regional cooperation that covers the prevention and countering of transnational security treats including terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organized crime, maritime insecurity and others. And it has been implementing peace and security strategy for the past four years.

The Ethiopia Herald December 20/2020

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