The growth of terrorism is a major threat to international peace and security, currently felt most keenly in Africa, the deputy UN chief told the Security Council on Thursday.
“Terrorists and violent extremists including Da’esh, Al-Qaida and their affiliates have exploited instability and conflict to increase their activities and intensify attacks across the continent,” Amina Mohammed said on behalfOpens in new window of Secretary-General António GuterresOpens in new window. “Their senseless, terror-fuelled violence has killed and wounded thousands and many more continue to suffer from the broader impact of terrorism on their lives and livelihoods.”
With misogyny at the core of many terrorist groups’ ideology, women and girls in particular, are bearing the brunt of insecurity and inequality.
The skyline beyond the northern suburbs of Mogadishu is seen through a bullet hole in the window of a hotel in Somalia.
And over the last two years, some of the most violent affiliates of Da’esh have expanded, increasing their presence in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger as well as southward into the Gulf of Guinea.
“Terrorist and violent extremist groups aggravate instability and human suffering. And they can plunge a country emerging from war back into the depths of conflict,” the senior UN official said.
Meanwhile, terrorists, non-State armed groups and criminal networks often pursue different agendas and strategies, fuelled by smuggling, human trafficking and other methods of illicit financing – sometimes impersonating legitimate armed forces.
And as digital tools spread hate and disinformation, terrorists and other criminal groups are exploiting inter-communal tensions and food insecurity triggered by climate change.
Globalization of terrorism
In today’s hyper-connected world, Ms Mohammed said the spread of terrorism in Africa is “not a concern for African Member States alone.”
“The challenge belongs to us all. Countering international terrorism requires effective multilateral responses,” she said.
From the climate emergency to armed conflict and poverty and inequality to lawless cyberspace, and the uneven recovery from COVID-19Opens in new window, she also pointed out that terrorism is converging with other threats.
For a holistic, comprehensive approach, the deputy UN chief cited the New Agenda for Peace – part of the Our Common Agenda report.
Amidst increasing polarization, she maintained that it proposes ways to address risks and revitalize our collective peace and security system.