Peace efforts in Africa gaining traction, but challenges remain

Pan African Parliament (PAP) staff provide information to attendees of PAP's fifth session in Midrand. Mel Frykberg/ANA

Pan African Parliament (PAP) staff provide information to attendees of PAP's fifth session in Midrand. Mel Frykberg/ANA

In July 2017 a PSC delegation visited the Lake Chad Basin to see the activities carried out by the Multinational Joint Task Force there.

Africa has made some progress on the peace and security front, but there remain a number of challenges, participants at the fifth session of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), at the Gallagher Conference Centre in Midrand, were told on Monday.

Presenting the debate on Peace and Security in Africa, Catherine Mwangi, Kenyan Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, and Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU), Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD), said the Peace and Security Council (PSC) had sustained efforts to promote stability on the continent.

“One of the situations that needs to be addressed is the continuing terrorism and insecurity plaguing the Lake Chad Basin where Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Islamic State continue to carry out heinous attacks,” said Mwangi.

“Efforts to combat them need to be doubled. But a comprehensive approach is required in that we need to address the root causes in the longer term.

“This will require social and economic programmes to supplement the military approach as well as rehabilitating defectors so as to undermine the recruitment process,” the ambassador explained.

In July 2017 a PSC delegation visited the Lake Chad Basin to see the activities carried out by the Multinational Joint Task Force there.

Turning to South Sudan Mwangi said there were no indications that the fighting would end soon and that the overall political and humanitarian situation remained very volatile.

“The peace process is moving very slowly and this has been accompanied by renewed fighting. There is no military solution to the crisis and a coordination of efforts by all actors supporting the country is needed,” she told participants.

In Somalia the PSC was working towards extending the control of the federal state and supporting the Somali military, which is backed by the African Union Mission in South Sudan (AMISOM), in liberating more areas from the Islamist group Al Shabaab which although downgraded was still carrying out repeated attacks.

One of the problems being faced was a shortage of food rations for AMISOM troops and their planned withdrawal from the country at the end of May next year which could leave a security gap for Al Shabaab to exploit as the Somali military would be under-prepared to breach the gap.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the situation is also volatile, especially in the Kasai region and there are fears of M23 rebel elements returning to the eastern part of the country, Mwangi explained.

A PSC mission will be travelling to the DRC next week to further assess the situation.

Efforts to implement peace and reconciliation in Mali were ongoing and this involved the PSC supporting the G5 Sahel force comprising Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, said Mwangi.

 

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