from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – THE establishment of the Southern African Development Community Regional Counter Terrorism Centre (SADC RCTC) is a timely intervention as the bloc tackles insurgency in Mozambique.
RCTC is the culmination of the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit held in 2015 in Gaborone, Botswana.
It adopted the Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy and a Plan of Action aimed at preventing and countering terrorism as well as enhancing cooperation and coordination.
The Summit also noted the need for a regional counter-terrorism coordinating body to facilitate regional, continental and international co-operation in combating terrorism.
Machana Ronald Shamukuni, Botswana Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, said the RCTC would ensure a dedicated structure to coordinate regional counter-terrorism efforts.
Shamukuni expressed this at the launch of RCTC on behalf of the Chairperson of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ, Dr Naledi Pandor, in Tanzania.
“Strong and sustained multilateral cooperation, understanding, and analysis are required in order to support Member States in addressing the challenges posed by terrorism, violent extremism and its associated Transnational Organised Crime activities,” he said.
The launch of the RCTC comes at a time the region, through the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), is in the middle of fighting terrorism and violent extremism in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique.
Shamukuni underscored that close collaboration between the RCTC, the National Counter-Terrorism Centres (NCTCs) in SADC Member States and International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) is at the heart of a successful implementation of the Regional Counter Terrorism Strategy and its Action Plan to minimise the risk posed by terrorist groups.
He commended ICPs such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) for the continued collaboration and partnership in the fight against terrorism.
Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Tanzania Minister of Defence, highlighted the RCTC as an important for Member States in strengthening cooperation in the control and fight against terrorist acts.
Elias Mpedi Magosi, SADC Executive Secretary, said the RCTC will play a catalytic role in advising on counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism policies and programmes.
“While significant progress has been made in the implementation of the SADC Regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy, there is still a need for the adoption of counter-terrorism measures, taking into consideration the current security landscape and emerging threats,” Magosi said.
– CAJ News