Yaw Ansah/Emmanuel Todd, GNA
Accra, Sept. 18, GNA - A security intelligence conference aimed at formulating a strategic policy to improve and support the peace operations in Africa especially in Somalia, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and other Sahel states has open in Accra.
Over the next two days, North and West Africa Directors of Military Intelligence from 17 countries and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners will deliberate on issues including the insurgence of terrorism activities, cybercrimes, illegal fishing and pirating activities.
It is on the theme, “Intelligence Support to Operations,”
Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister for Defence, at the maiden conference said that the maintenance of peace and security on the continent was critical as it was scourged with transitional and organised crimes.
“The situation is compounded by poverty, limited economic opportunities, environmental degradation, health pandemics, political interference from within and without the sub-region,” he said.
Mr Nitiwul stated that the incidence of unrest within the Sahel regions had given rise to population marginalisation and institutional dislocations, which made it difficult for states to maintain order and peace.
The Minister commended the heads of states of ECOWAS countries for their commitment to raise One Billion United States Dollars to aid in the combat against terrorism and violent extremism.
Madam Stephanie Sullivan, U.S Ambassador to Ghana, said that many countries within the North and West African sub-region have been faced with some form of attacks from a growing network of international violent extremist and that this threats did not affect only those countries but all others.
She said terrorist groups and extremist groups were seriously learning and adopting new ways to exploit the security weakness of countries because to them borders had no meaning.
“This is why protecting our individual countries requires protecting the entire region,” she said.
She noted that to prevent the spread of violent extremism meant to strengthen law enforcement, border security, development, health education, administration of justice, public outreach, good governance and private sector growth that generated jobs.
The Ambassador also reminded the directors to respect the human right of the citizenry they protected and defended, in order to merit their public trust and confidence when applying military responds to prevent and combat violent extremism.
Rear Admiral Heidi Berg, U.S Africa Command Director of Intelligence, said that threats of kidnapping, piracy, illegal fishing and attacks had continued to undermine security and threatened prosperity in the regions.
“As intelligence professionals, we have the difficulty but important job to enable military operations that ensure the security and prosperity of our communities,” she said.
She noted that it was important that they shared their insight to establish a common understanding of their adversaries and was confident that the conference would serve as a catalyst to work and build over the past years by developing innovative proposals to implement best intelligent practices to disrupt and contain extremist groups.
Brigadier General Nicholas Andoh, Director General Defence Affairs Ghana, urged the directors gathered to synergize to generate strength in the fight against their common goal to defeat terrorism and violent extremist groups on the African continent.
He said African has the largest population of youth and had become the target of human resource by these perpetrators to expand their agenda and penetrate the borders.