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Communiqué of the 1040th meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the AU held on 22 October 2021, on the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on Continental Efforts in Preventing and Combating of Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa

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The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling its previous decisions and pronouncements on preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, particularly, Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM. (DCCCXII)] adopted at its 812th meeting held on 23 November 2018, Communiqué [PSC/AHG/COM.(DCCXLIX)] adopted at its 749th meeting held on 27 January 2018;

Also recalling Articles 3 (d) and 7 (i) of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council, on the role of Council on the coordination and harmonization of continental efforts in the prevention and combating of terrorism in all its aspects;

Noting the opening remarks by H.E. Honorable Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique, as the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of October 2021 and also noting the remarks of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, as well as the remarks by H.E. Mr. Ramtane Lamamra, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the National Community Abroad of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria - Champion of the fight against Terrorism and Violent extremism in Africa; the presentations by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye and by the Executive Secretary of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services for Africa (CISSA), H.E. Zeinab Ali Kotoko; as well as statements by the Member States affected by terrorism, namely, Burkina Faso, Chad, Kenya, Libya and Nigeria, and by the Chairpersons of the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs); as well as by the representatives of the United Nations and the European Union;

Reaffirming respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and national unity of AU Member States, while recognizing that the primary responsibility to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism primarily rests with Member States; reiterating AU’s continued commitment to inclusive and collective African approaches in the fight against the scourge.

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council,

  1. Takes note of the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on Continental Efforts in the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa and commends the relentless efforts deployed at national, regional, continental and international levels, in preventing and combating the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa; and encourages the AU Commission to enhance partnerships with the relevant United Nations institutions, the EU and bilateral partners to enhance support provided to Member States;

  2. Expresses deep concern over the worsening scourge of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, including the influx of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), as well as the growing linkages between terrorism, violent extremism and transnational organized crime, and the attendant social, economic and humanitarian impact;

  3. Strongly condemns all acts of terrorism and violent extremism in the Continent, particularly the indiscriminant killing of innocent people, wanton destruction of infrastructure and property, including the symbols of the State, abductions and kidnapping for ransom, economic sabotage, killing of peacekeepers, recruitment and use of rape and sexual abuse against women and children; expresses condolences to the affected Member States for the lives lost and pays tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives due to terrorist attacks and, in this context, strongly warns the perpetrators that they shall be brought to account for their heinous acts;

  4. Commends Algeria, in its capacity as the AU Champion in preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism, for hosting the High-Level Meeting on Combating Terrorist Financing in Africa from 9 to 10 April 2018, in Algiers, and requests the Commission to assist Member States to expeditiously implement the outcomes of the Meeting;

  5. Underscores the urgent need for Member States to make more concerted and coordinated efforts to effectively deprive terrorists and their organisations of all sources of funding, including payment of ransom, illicit trafficking, as well as any form of military, logistical or political support; and encourages them to address the fundamental root causes, drivers and enablers of terrorism and violent extremism, such as poverty and underdevelopment, youth unemployment, marginalization and ethnic discrimination, and to establish platforms for regular inter-faith dialogue, with a view to promoting mutual tolerance and respect among communities of different religious persuasions;

  6. Stresses the importance of renewed efforts to expedite the resolution of the conflict and crisis situations on the Continent, particularly in Somalia, Libya, Mali and other parts of the Continent, which are contributing to the influx of FTFs; welcomes the signature, in Geneva, of the plan of action for the withdrawal of Foreign Forces and Mercenaries from Libya, and calls on all concerned stakeholders to strictly commit to supporting the effective implementation of the Action Plan and to refrain from undermining the will of the Libyan people;

  7. Requests the AU Commission, working in collaboration with the Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), as well as with relevant international organizations and bilateral partners, to urgently compile a continental list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, including FTFs, as well as those sponsoring them;

  8. Also requests the AU Commission, through the ACRST, CISSA and AFRIPOL, working in collaboration with partners such as United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (UNCTED), International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and United Nations Counter-terrorism Office (UNOCT), to continue to assist Member States in enhancing their national security capacities, in order to enable them to more effectively prevent and combat the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, including in developing training programs on soft targets and protection of critical infrastructure, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2341 (2007);

  9. Appeals to Member States that have not done so, to enact appropriate legislations and administrative procedures to effectively control the production, export, import, transit or retransfers of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in order to prevent illegal manufacture of, and illicit trafficking in, SALW or their diversion to terrorist and criminal groups, in line with the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT); and to domesticate, as appropriate, the AU Policy on the management of SALW recovered in peace support operations; and in this context, requests the Commission, working closely with Member States and RECs/RMs, to conduct a second phase of the Mapping Study on Small Arms and Light Weapons, focusing more on illicit arms/weapons flows linked to activities of terrorist groups and transnational criminal syndicates;

  10. Encourages Member States to enact and enforce appropriate legislation and traceability control measures that include importation, movement, storage, distribution and use of materials and components used for making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and, in this regard, requests the Commission to assist Member States in the development of their Counter IED capabilities;

  11. Underscores the need for Member States to more effectively regulate the use of the internet and social media and to prevent the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by terrorist groups in their fundraising, narrative promotion, and recruitment, including developing and implementing effective counter-narrative strategies in accordance with the Security Council resolution 2354 (2017);

  12. Reaffirms the continued relevance of the AU normative and policy framework for preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism, and reiterates its call on Member States, that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify, without further delay, the 2004 Protocol to the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, the AU Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (Niamey Convention), which among others, provides for cooperation in the area of security, including combating terrorism and transnational organized crime, and other relevant international instruments;

  13. Underscores the importance of continued cooperation and collaboration among Member States in the preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism in the Continent and in this respect, encourages Member States to continue to promote trans-border cooperation, information and intelligence sharing, including through the ACSRT Information system and African Police Communication System (AFSECOM) of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), as well as enhancing joint operations;

  14. Requests the Commission to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure the effective implementation, before the end of 2021, of the relevant decisions taken by the decision-making organs of the African Union, within the framework of the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, in particular, those relating to a) the establishment of the African list of terrorist groups, entities and individuals, including Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF); b) the development and operationalisation of the African Arrest Warrant for those accused or convicted of terrorist acts; c) full activation of the Sub Committee on Counter-Terrorism of the Peace and Security Council; and d) the operationalisation of the African Union Special Fund for the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa, in line with the Assembly decision [Assembly / AU / Dec.614 (XXVII)], adopted by the 27th Ordinary session of the Assembly , in July 2016;

  15. Stresses the urgency for action-oriented approaches to give concrete expression to the commitment made by Member States to effectively prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, through a broad range of coordinated responses to strengthen state capacities to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism. To this effect Council:

a) Requests the AU Commission to develop comprehensive counter-terrorism train-the-trainer programs and manuals and the organization of regional exercises focused on counter-terrorism and transnational organized crime and, in this regard, highlights the importance of benefiting from the experience of Member States;

b) tasks the AU Commission to develop and integrate counter-terrorism modules in peace support operations pre-deployment training taking into cognizance the specific needs and priorities of Member States in building their national security capacity in collaboration and technical assistance with the relevant international organizations and UN Organs and specialized agencies and Member States with experience in this field;

c) underscores the need for the Commission to expedite the implementation of the tasks entrusted to it as per Communiqué PSC/AHG/COMM.(CDLV), with particular emphasis on the assessment of the implementation status of the 2002 Plan of Action on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, the establishment of the African list of terrorist groups, entities and individuals, and the elaboration of an African Arrest Warrant for persons charged with, or convicted of, terrorist acts;

d) stresses the importance of continuing to hold the Annual Consultative Forum with the relevant international partners, in line with Communiqué PSC/AHG/COMM.(CDLV), to facilitate harmonization of existing strategies and promote action-oriented collaboration and coordination;

e) encourages Member States to submit, in line with the provision of the 2004 Protocol to the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, annual reports to Council on measures taken to prevent and combat terrorism;

f) calls upon the AU Commission to pursue and intensify its efforts to support Member States, by paying particular attention to the development of an African Arrest Warrant for those accused or convicted of acts of terrorism;

g) requests the Commission, through the ACSRT to review the efficacy of the Continental Counterterrorism Framework, and a report to Council in this regard;

  1. Underscores the important role of the media and civil society in educating the public on the dangers and consequences of terrorism and violent extremism, on their livelihood, peace and security and on the respect and tolerance of all forms of diversity; in this regard, urges the media to continue using their platforms in promoting the culture of peace in the continent and thus complementing education curriculum on peaceful coexistence;

  2. Stresses the importance of regional efforts in preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism, including those by ECOWAS, G-5 Sahel, Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), in this respect, pays tribute to the countries of the G-5 Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin Commission countries for the efforts deployed towards the operationalization of the G-5 Joint Task Force and the MNJFT respectively in a very challenging environment and stresses the need to redouble support extended to the activities of the MNJTF and the G-5 Joint Task Force through the provision of necessary resources;

  3. Requests the AU Commission to expedite the establishment of an African Counter-Terrorism Coordination Task Force (A2CTF), under the office of the AU Special Representative for Counterterrorism Cooperation, to improve cooperation and coordination in counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism work of the Commission, to respond to pressing counter-terrorism situations, strengthen support and assistance to Member States, including the requested and identified capacity building needs, in addition to ensuring the implementation of the relevant Assembly and PSC decisions, and facilitating rational allocation of resources;

  4. Tasks the Commission to finalize the proposed revised structures of ACRST and AFRIPOL, for their adoption by the Policy Organs in February 2022, develop and strengthen their human and financial resources and ensure that they maintain their respective budget lines in the future annual budgets of the AU, in order to enable them to fulfill their respective mandates more effectively;

  5. Encourages Member States to support AU’s efforts in mobilizing funding, including by adopting the Statute for African Union Special Fund on the Prevention and Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa, created for the purposes of strengthening efforts in the prevention and combating of terrorism and violent extremism in the continent and, in this regard, appeals to Member States and partners to make generous voluntary financial contributions and to provide technical support to AU efforts against terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization;

  6. Welcomes the offer by the Government of Algeria to host the AU Ministerial Conference to examine the new African Plan of Action on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and Violent Extremisms, in accordance with Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.726(XXXII) adopted by the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Addis Ababa, from 10 to 11 February 2019; decision on the Report on the fight against Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa (Doc. Assembly / AU / 17 (XXXII); and

  7. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.