Tuesday November 3, 2020
Soldiers in the 17th Battle Group of the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) exit AMISOM’s Forward Operating Base before a patrol on October 11, 2016 in Barawe, Somalia. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
Reiterating deep concern over the growing threat to peace, security and prosperity of Africa posed by terrorism and violent extremism, the African Union (AU) Peace & Security Council has called for the full operationalization of the African Standby Force (ASF) to enable rapid deployment and timely intervention in crisis.
This came during the latest meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council on the Establishment of the Special Unit on Counter-Terrorism within the framework of the African Standby Force (ASF), according to an AU statement on Saturday.
The Council has underlined that the AU Commission and the regional economic communities and mechanisms (RECs/RMs) redouble their efforts in strengthening the regional brigades of the ASF and availing financial, technical, human and material resources to expedite their full operationalization, thereby enhancing Africa’s collective defense and security.
The Council has underlined on the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and comparative advantages through strengthening coordination between the Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the RECs/RMs, which serve as primary responders in their respective regions, towards harmonization of decision-making and reinforcing synergies to effectively and expeditiously respond to security threats in the continent.
It has also underlined on the importance of sharing experiences and best practices, as well as lessons arising from continental and regional mechanisms deployed against terrorism, violent extremism and other related transnational organized crime.
The Council requested the AU Commission to establish a task force comprising all relevant stakeholders, including the PSC Military Staff Committee (MSC), including representatives from their respective capitals, RECs/RMs, Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), as well as the focal points of Djibouti and Nouakchott processes, to provide technical guidance and submit concrete proposals on the technical aspects related to the establishment of the Special Unit for combatting terrorism within the ASF, aimed at combatting terrorism in the continent.
It has further requested the AU Commission to brief and seek input from the Specialized Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security on all aspects related to the establishment of this Special Unit.