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EA military intelligence bosses hold talks in Rwanda on terrorism, regional security

Tuesday September 21 2021
police

Kenya's Anti-Terrorism Police Unit officers arrest a suspect in Mombasa on August 23, 2021. Security agencies in East Africa are on high alert for potential terror attacks. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE

EAC military intelligence chiefs converged in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on Monday to devise a common strategy for combatting security threats amid concerns over potential terrorism and radicalisation growth in the region.

The two-day meet of chiefs and directors of military intelligence from all the six EAC member states, as well as the region’s defence and counter terrorism centre envoys will discuss “contemporary issues as far as security situation and peace within the region is concerned,” according to delegates.

While they could not discuss the specifics of the meeting’s agenda, Col Raphael Kibiwot Kiptoo, Chairperson of EAC Defence Liaison Office, told journalists that due to the pandemic, many countries put a lot of emphasis on combating Covid-19, leading to terror cells to operate within the region.

“We have seen a slight increase in terrorism attempts and activities within the community and region over the recent months,” he said, citing recent terror-linked incidences in Tanzania’s commercial hub Dar es Salaam and Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa, where suspected terrorists were killed and arrested respectively.

As a result, regional security agencies are on high alert for potential terror attacks on their soil amid intensified fight against Islamic State fighters in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province where Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) nations recently deployed troops.

 “All these things might and should come up at this meeting. It should come up with ways to try and ensure that efforts that respective armed forces and regional organisations put in place help contain terrorism activities. We also need to be careful about what happens in post-Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. The instability in Afghanistan could be a breeding ground for elements of terrorism and radicalisation,” he said.

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Chief of Defence Staff of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), Gen. Jean Bosco Kazura, said the two-day meeting should be an opportunity for military intelligence to openly share information and find solutions to common problems that threaten peace and security, and ensure all EAC countries live together in peace and harmony.

“Knowing who we are, that we are in charge of military intelligence in different countries, we have at any cost to make sure that we live in peace and harmony… Sometimes we are associated with spying on each other; don’t spy each other, talk freely,” he said.

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