Published Friday , on 3 December 2021, 13:59:23 by NONAHA

(MAP) Rabat - Morocco has been drawing the attention of the international community, in general, and the International Coalition against Daesh more particularly since its inception, to the necessity of addressing the ’’rising’’ threat of terrorist groups in Africa, said, on Thursday December 02, 2021 the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr Nasser Bourita.

Speaking at the International Coalition against Daesh meeting to launch its Africa Focus Group, the minister said that Morocco hosted, in June 2018 in Skhirat, the first meeting of the Political Directors dedicated to Africa, arguing that this Focus Group, an "additional effort", is "timelier than ever" in regard to the continued evolution of the situation in Africa.

The territorial defeat of Daesh in Syria and Iraq has led to a shift of its strategy based on the consolidation of regional branches and marked by a flow of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) relocators and returnees, he explained, noting that today 27 African based terrorist entities are registered on the UN Security Council Sanction list as terrorist groups and are responsible for 12,500 deaths in 2020.

In this sense, the minister stressed that "we have noticed the rise of the use of Drones for reconnaissance and offensive purposes as well as emerging technologies to conduct their operation finance them, such as cryptocurrencies," stating that West Africa and the Sahel are the most impacted regions in Africa, with 7,108 terrorist attacks registered in 2020, and with more than 1.4 million internally displaced due to ongoing confrontations.

Developments in Central Africa and East Africa are also of concern as terrorist groups try to challenge States and put their territorial unity and stability at risk, he said, adding that the economic impact of terrorism on the continent during the last decade reached 171 Billion USD, which has had a direct impact on political and social stability of African countries.

Bourita said that in order to contribute to the counter terrorist efforts on the African Continent, Morocco has engaged bilaterally with several countries and in different fora, most notably at the United-Nations in the Global Counter Terrorism Forum and of course the Global Coalition Against Daesh.

Based on this experience and commitment, Morocco has volunteered to co-chair the Africa Focus Group with Italy, Niger and the United-States, he said.

The objectives of this Focus Group are fully in line with the parameters for an efficient counter-terrorism involvement in Africa, namely recognizing and supporting African efforts in the fight against terrorism at sub regional levels, supporting African ownership of counter-terrorism policies, supporting and rationalizing capacity building efforts on the continent, and providing for a holistic approach allowing security and development, he explained.

In this context, Bourita stressed that "we hold high hopes for the work of the Africa Focus Group as a platform to exchange views and perspectives to provide for a common understanding on specific Daesh-related threats and strategies on the continent, and to empower African States to deter and interdict terrorist attacks, through building and reinforcing national capacities in a rational and concerted way".

Some key areas need to be prioritised such as Border Security Management, the use of Battlefield evidence, strategic and operational cooperation and capacity building, he said, stressing that "we should rely on existing mechanisms and strategies at sub-regional level such as the work that is being implemented by ECOWAS."

"Morocco reaffirms here its commitment to working closely with our co-chairs, Coalition members and partners in order to achieve the Africa Focus Group objectives and deliver on the promises made by the Focus group," said Bourita, who announced the Kingdom’s hosting of the ministerial meeting of the Coalition against Daesh next spring.