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African governments should desist from seeking military assistance from foreign powers in times of internal crisis, chairperson of the African Union Ministers of Defence and Security Dr Sydney Sekeramayi has said. Closing the 8th Ordinary Meeting of the AU Ministers of Defence in Victoria Falls last week, Dr Sekeramayi urged member states to be wary of depending on foreign military help to resolve domestic problems.

He said the AU should be guided by the principles of its founding fathers as well as the need to safeguard the fundamental freedoms of future generations.

“This meeting comes on the backdrop of rising insecurity and terrorism. We need to combine our efforts, most importantly now when our continent is bedevilled by instability,” he said.

Dr Sekeramayi said it was imperative that AU member states adopted home-grown solutions to internal challenges.

“We should remain united in line with the aspirations of our own founding fathers and be cautious of being overdependent on foreign assistance in resolving our problems. The intended operationalisation of the Africa Standby Force (ASF) will be a positive development in maintaining peace on the continent. It will also minimise involvement of foreign nations,” he said.

Dr Sekeramayi said the AU defence forces meeting was part of efforts by the continent to develop home-grown solutions.

He said in the past, the AU would “run” to the United Nations in times of crisis and that such tendencies should come to an end with the operationalisation of the ASF in December this year.

Speaking on the same platform, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui said terrorist activities, which included radicalism and extremism, were on the rise with West Africa, North Africa and East Africa the worst affected sub-regions.

Operationalisation of the ASF is viewed as the panacea to terrorism on the continent.

“You will also agree with me that the rise of terrorism and extremism is the major challenge that is negatively affecting some parts of our continent,” he said.

“Terrorist activities have expanded in our continent with East Africa, West Africa and North Africa being the most affected regions.

“While it is important to address some of the contributing factors such as poverty and lack of opportunities, it’s very urgent that we mobilise the necessary intelligence to effectively fight terrorism and to address the conditions that give rise to radicalisation and extrem- ism.”

The AU needs about $1 billion to operationalise the force, whose members will be stationed in their respective countries ready for deployment when need arises.

Source : The Herald