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IGAD countries concern over rise in extremists groups around Horn of Africa

Ambassador Moi Lemoshira, the Director General at the Kenya State Department of Foreign Affairs (right) chats with Mohamed Ali, the IGAD Special Envoy in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden region during a validation exercise of action plans to address challenges facing the region.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member States have raised their concern over the resurgence of extremist groups around the Horn of Africa.

According to IGAD, the situation had seen a rise in insecurity and had been worsened by climate change with thousands facing starvation and forced to relocate in search of food.

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This came as a taskforce appointed by the authority to identify challenges and opportunities in the Gulf of Eden and Red Sea presented its report to member States in Lake Naivasha Resort.

According to IGAD Special Envoy Ambassador Mohammed Guyo, the Gulf of Eden and Red Sea was central to the economy of the IGAD region.

He however noted that under-utilization of its resources and international competition had undermined the potential of the region.

“IGAD member States have been key contributors to UN peacekeeping efforts but are now struggling to sustain regional peace and protect the Gulf of Eden and Red Sea areas,” he said.

Addressing the press on the sidelines of the meeting, Guyo added that illicit routes were being used to traffic drugs, weapons, human beings and contraband.

“We have seen a rise in terrorism, piracy, armed robbery and sea kidnapping around the region and lack of security co-operation among member States has worsened the situation,” he said.

While calling for concerted efforts among all the eight member states, Guyo noted that the region had not been spared by climate change.

He said that this had seen livelihoods disrupted and rise in insecurity as affected communities scrambled for food, water and pastures.

On his part, the Director-General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Moi Lemoshira, noted that the insecurity in the region had affected development.

According to him, the rise in terrorism and extremist groups had an effect on all the member states hence the calls for joint collaboration.

“The Gulf of Eden and Red Sea has very high potential but insecurity, political transition and instability in some member countries have hampered efforts to reap from the region,” he said.

Lemoshira was full of praise for the taskforce appointed to look at the opportunities and challenges of the IGAD region adding that their report would help in coming up with a road map.

“The full effects of climate change have been felt in the last two years and this coupled with instability in some countries has created a window for insecurity and terrorism,” he said.

Antony Gitonga
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