Kampala. Africa’s top intelligence and security committee has said Eastern and Northern Africa are increasingly becoming hotspots of international terrorism activities.
The executive secretary of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), Mr Shimels Semayat, yesterday told spy chiefs from the 12 Eastern African countries that al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) were taking advantage of instability in North Africa and armed groups in East Africa to buttress their activities in the two continental regions.
Mr Semayat also said terrorist groups are using big ungoverned swaths of territory and uncontrolled natural resources to establish bases in Eastern Africa.
“According to our analysis, the eastern and northern Africa are becoming epicentres of terrorism activities for international groups,” he said.
The instability in North Africa especially Libya that came as a result of the 2010 anti-government riots commonly known as Arab Spring has become a fertile ground for terrorist activities by the ISIS.
Mr Semayat named the Allied Democratic Forces in the DR Congo and al-Shabaab in Somali as major security threats in the region because of their “connection” with the international terrorist groups.
The regional spy chiefs are meeting in Kampala as East African chapter, one of the five intelligence blocs that make CISSA, a primary committee that gives intelligence to African Union for policy making.
Uganda’s Director General of External Security Organisation Joseph Ocwet, who is also the chairperson of the East Africa chapter, said they are going to discuss, among other things, how the armed groups are accessing funds for their activities.
The two-day meeting, which ends today, brought spy chiefs from Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Mauritius, South Sudan, Sudan, Djibouti, Comoros, Uganda, Tanzania and Madagascar.
“The main issue is terrorism. But we are also facing new challenges of cybercrime, human trafficking and money laundering,” Mr Ocwet said.
The deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen Wilson Mbadi, was the chief guest at the opening of the meeting.
They will today meet President Museveni at State House, Entebbe.
The meeting is also attended by the newly appointed intelligence chiefs of Sudan and Somalia. Sudan is the current chair of CISSA.