Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

When Africa unites to defend the common inter-state borders.

Article from AFRIC editorial
The African continent is increasingly confronted with the security threat. The scale of armed conflicts, acts of piracy, social crises and repeated attacks by terrorist groups require a major response. The security threat today concerns the entire continent. No region is spared. At the last Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit held in Dar-es-Salem, Tanzania, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi told his peers of the need to create a regional force to combat armed rebel groups that are spreading terror in his country and pose a serious threat to the stability of the sub region. Joseph Kabila's successor, who would like SADC countries to draw inspiration from the international coalition fighting ISIS, and terrorism in general, says a regional coalition could contain growing insecurity in the region. Eastern DRC and is caused by both local and foreign militias. This proposal by the Congolese head of state raises questions about the role that regional forces can play today in the face of growing insecurity on the continent.

North Africa in an individual struggle

This part of the continent, many groups have pledged allegiance to Daesh. The chaos that has reigned in Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has fostered extremist propaganda. Despite the threat posed by violent extremism, the actions of these countries remain individual. In Egypt, Operation Sinai 2018 initiated by President Al Sissi has raked this desert territory where many local factions of the Islamic State group had been established. This major military offensive by the army, the navy and the air force soon came to fruition with increased control of border areas and thorough cleansing of terrorist homes. If Egypt has relied on the muscular retaliation of its army to restore security on its land, Morocco has chosen a rather different anti-terrorist strategy by launching in 2018 a program called Moussalaha (reconciliation). This project is based on de-radicalization as a weapon against violent extremism targeting young people. Its goal is to break the link between terrorism and crime. Thanks to the expertise of experts in human rights and the fight against radicalization, people accused and imprisoned for crimes receive psychological support enabling them to be rehabilitated in a social setting.

Central Africa and West Africa, which are facing serious security problems, have made the adage “unity is strength” their niche. These two regions have opted in recent decades for a synergy of forces to promote sub-regional stability and security.

The waiting force of ECOWAS

 The Economic Community of West African States has managed to move beyond the framework of economic cooperation to build a regional force. The many missions it has successfully carried out in the countries where it has been deployed.  According to many observers, one of the serious achievements of a regional force in Africa formerly known as the Cease Fire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), intervened on Liberian soil in 1990 during the civil war. The waiting ECOWAS force was also requested in Guinea Bissau, then in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 and in Mali in 2012. Faced with the crisis caused in 2017 in  Gambia by the refusal of Yahya Jammeh to leave power after his failure in the presidential election, it was his services that the sub regional organization called in case of security drift in this country of West Africa. Despite its effectiveness in acting in the West African sub region, the ECOWAS waiting force cannot deploy quickly in case of need as it requires for its operationalization of a mandate of the UN or the African Union. .

A Center for Maritime Security of the Gulf of Guinea

 The resurgence of acts of piracy of the Gulf of Guinea forced in 2013, twenty-two countries in West and Central Africa to set up an organization aimed at securing the Gulf of Guinea. To better coordinate the work in the surveillance, it was agreed at this summit held in Yaoundé in Cameroon that the structure is divided into three fractions including the regional center for maritime security of West Africa (CRESMAO ), with the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, as the regional center for the security of Central Africa (CRESMAC) with its headquarters in Pointe-Noire, Congo, and the interregional coordination center in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

 The multinational force mixes

In 1994, faced with the common threat of organized crime and crime in Lake Chad, four countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) namely Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Nigeria decided to the creation of a joint force called the mixed multinational force. Initially operating only by a few patrols, the FMM will expand its field of action in the 2000s marked by a rise in power of the Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram, whose criminal acts transcended the Nigerian limits to attack the countries. Neighbors such as Cameroon, Chad and Niger. With N’Djamena as the Chadian capital, this force, which has succeeded in weakening the Nigerian nebula, consists of four full member countries of the LCBC (Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon) Benin, which is a non-member country. . Authorized to operate on January 29, 2015 by the African Union, are objective is the sharing of information for a military response against Boko Haram. With a workforce of about 10,000 men, it receives financial aid that passes through the commission of the African Union.

The joint G5 Sahel force

Faced with multiple challenges including the resurgence of terrorist attacks, organized crime, illegal immigration and climate change, the five countries Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger have found it useful to coordinate their actions for the creation in 2014 of a regional organization called G5 Sahel. This structure will have a broader mandate that includes the security component with the creation on 2 July 2017 of a joint cross-border force to strengthen the security struggle in the Sahel. Headquartered in Nouakchott, the organization represents support for the actions of the United Nations Mission (MINUSMA) and the French Barchans force deployed in Mali. The financial aspect that has long been a handicap is evolving thanks to the financial contribution of donors.

Regional cooperation with a pool of forces, transnational security challenges could hardly be countered. By acting alone, Nigeria and Mali have long suffered in the face of armed groups that were suffering horror in their respective territories. Initially, regional organizations were created to provide solutions to the various economic and social concerns of countries. But the scale of the crises in Africa and the lack of commitment of the international community have pushed the latter to extend their activities in the security field to the 90s. However, despite their commitment, the sub-regional organizations still face the problems of material and financial support by the Member States, which makes it difficult to operationalize them. To deploy when the need arises, they are often forced to reach outwards, which is a blow to their empowerment.

 Article from AFRIC editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

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