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the African Union in the fight against global terrorism in East Africa

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Conflict Resolution
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International: $20
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The African Union play play a major role in combating terrorism and therefore the Union contribute to the security of most African states. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of the African Union in the fight against global terrorism in East Africa. This study use the purposeful research design combining mixed method approach and was predominantly conducted on global terrorism in East Africa focusing on the AU in the fight against global terrorism whose main headquarters is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The target population for this study was participants which is spread across Cameroo. The sample size for this study was 50 correspondents. The research use primary data on this fight against global terrorism. Primary data was collected by the use of questionnaires administered by the research. Qualitative data was analysed using using content analysis. Results were presented using demographic and statistical tenhniques. Main findings were based on RQ1,RQ2, and RQ3 findings of the study will be of great significance as it will help the African Union leaders to identify areas where they can use global terrorism index to benefit the population and formulate frameworks to regulate the African Union in East Africa to benefit the population particularly the youths.

Keywords, conflict resolution, conflict prevention, conflict management, conflict transformation, peace keeping



1.1 Background to Study

The history of terrorism in Africa goes back millennia – some ancient Egyptians committed atrocities that would today be construed as terrorist acts. it also occurred in the historical empires of Kanem-Bornu, Ghana, Mali and songhai, as well as the sokoto Caliphate. Historically, however, the term ‘terrorism’ did not feature often in Africa’s political lexicon. When it did, it meant very different things to different people. This is not unusual – globally, there is no unanimously accepted definition of terrorism. for most of the 20th century, in Africa the term ‘terrorism’ was inextricably tied up with colonial politics.

          To the white colonial administrations, the fighters of the liberation movements were terrorists, while the liberation movements themselves generally applied the term to the colonialists. This dichotomy endured into the post-colonial era, where Africa’s first continental body – the Organization of African Unity (OAU) – was regarded by the former colonial powers as ‘an umbrella organization of terrorist groups’ (M Ewi et al., 2014). This confusion could explain the OAU’s reluctance to engage with the term at all. from its founding in 1963 until 1992, the term ‘terrorism’ is strikingly absent from the organization’s documentary history, applied only on rare occasions to Israeli – Palestinian issues and south Africa’s apartheid state. even seemingly obvious terrorist incidents, such as the Lockerbie bombing and the Entebbe hostage crisis, failed to merit its usage. (ibid, 735) However, a change in political context in the early 1990s forced the OAU to take a more active role. In particular, it was concerned over the apparent rise in radical, religious-inspired terrorism in Algeria and Nigeria, and by public criticism of its silence on these types of issues (M Ewi 2014). In 1992, it began to move from a policy of non-action to one of non-interference, taking a more active role in continental security issues in general. This is when the foundations were laid for a continental counter-terrorism strategy.

          When the OAU morphed into the African Union (AU) in 2002, the continental body became even more active against terrorism, finally recognizing just how serious a threat it had become. The numbers speak for themselves: between 1970 and 2013 there were nearly 10 000 recorded incidents of terrorism in sub-saharan Africa alone (Simon A, 2015). The AU’s tougher stance, although encouraging, has yet to pay off. Today, terrorism is perhaps the most significant threat to peace and stability in Africa. Key areas of concern are Nigeria, where Boko haram has killed hundreds of people in 2014 alone and is thought to be expanding into neighboring countries; East Africa, where al-shabaab, although weakened, continues to launch attacks both at home in Somalia and in neighboring countries, particularly Kenya; and North Africa, where a plethora of islamist groups operate across the Sahel (Simon A, 2015). Terrorist groups thus profit from a lack of coordination among states. This is where the AU has a vital role to play: by providing a unified counter-terrorism strategy and coordinating the response of member states, it should be able to address the transnational nature of terrorism, closing loopholes and preventing the emergence of future safe havens. ‘A continental strategy is important because the threats are common.

         The African Union policy is to harmonize practices and objectives,’ said Ambassador Francisco Madeira, Director of the African Centre for the study and research on Terrorism (ACsrT). ‘These threats present similar characteristics, and we suffer from similar vulnerabilities. each individual state alone will not be able to fight this scourge.’ (Simon A, 2015) it’s not just the AU that prioritizes a unified strategy. At a global level, the United Nations – through various resolutions and its security Council – also tries to define counter-terrorism policy, working on the same principle that a united front is more effective than myriads of different strategies. Part of the AU’s motivation in adopting continental counter-terrorism measures is therefore to fulfil its obligations to implement international law on the African continent. similarly, due to the structure of the international system, Africa’s regional economic communities (reCs) should take the lead in coordinating AU policy at the level of an individual state. This was followed in 1994 by the Tunis Declaration on a Code of Conduct for inter-African relations (Tunis Declaration, 1994), notable as the first time that African leaders explicitly described terrorism as a criminal act. it also committed Africa to following existing international law on the issue, and introduced the key counter-terrorism principle of aut dedere aut judicare, which forces states to either bring terrorist suspects to justice or extradite them (M Ewi et al., 2014).

        The twin bombings of United states (Us) embassies in Nairobi and Dar es salaam in 1998 again forced terrorism onto the continental agenda. over 250 people were killed and thousands injured in the al-Qaeda attacks, which made headlines across the world. The OAU realized it needed to toughen up and formalize its counter-terrorism strategy. This was achieved through the 1999 Algiers Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism.12 ‘The importance of the Convention for counterterrorism in Africa cannot be overstated. The Convention put in place a solid and fundamental criminal justice framework for the fight against terrorism in Africa. It codified counter-terrorism norms and consolidated common standards,’ according to ewi and Du Plessis (M Ewi et al., 2014) Finally, the AU has developed the African Model Anti-Terrorism Law. This is a legislative blueprint which African countries can copy or borrow from in order to draw up the necessary domestic legislation. The idea is that if all African countries model their laws on the blueprint, they will be consistent with each other and with the overarching continental policy.

1.2 Statement of Problem

As conflicts have grown over the past decade, terrorist attacks have increased and spread, destabilizing societies and entire regions. It has become entirely important for countries to states to counter terrorism and as time passes, individual countries don’t seem to be able to effectively counter this growing pandemic. It therefore became necessary for African nations to come together to fight against this. With the introduction of the African Union and its policies to combating global terrorism, its imperative that we take a look at what the organization is doing to combat terrorism and restore peace to African nation. Thus, this study will therefore be examining the African Union’s role in the fight against global terrorism in East Africa.

1.3 Research Objectives

 From the afore mentioned, the following research questions were raised.

  • What are the activities carried out by the African Union to combat terrorism in East Africa.
  • What is the African Union’s role in the fight against terrorism in East Africa.
  • What are the Challenges faced by AU in the fight against global terrorism in East Africa?


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