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Forum to discuss links between terrorism and organised crime

May 23, 2011, 1:28 PM

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) will today play host a three-day international seminar on the theme: "The Connection between Terrorism and Organized Crime in West Africa".

Organised by the African Center for Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), the seminar is expected to open this morning at the Paradise Suites Hotel, and will bring together representatives of AU international partners in the field of the prevention and fight against organized crime and narco-terrorism, with the aim of strengthening capacities in Africa.

The objective, among others, is to provide a forum for African experts, allowing them to share their expertise and experience in the field of prevention and fight against organized crime in the region of West Africa.

It intends to draw on the experience of experts and skilled professionals in the field, to discuss and develop ways and means to combat the scourge of organized crime in West Africa. It will also seek to identify the reasons, actors, vulnerabilities and factors that facilitate organized crime in West Africa and the neighbouring regions in Africa.

It further aims to facilitate cooperation between security officials at the national level, and between the governments to ensure that criminal activities do not go unnoticed, and that they are punished.

A dispatch from the NIA said Africa faces major security challenges that make the whole of the continent vulnerable to terrorism, and improvements are needed in order to understand the threats posed by organized crime and narco-terrorism on the continent and practical strategies available to African member states to respond to this threat.

According to the dispatch, the seminar aims, therefore, to promote a better understanding of the impact of organized crime and challenges to security in the region of West Africa.

"It will seek to establish the causes, the facilitators and the consequences of the phenomenon, including its relationship with the broader security environment in African countries."

The seminar, which is to be held in collaboration with African officials in charge of security matters, leading experts, and representatives of international organisations, will also discuss best practices and lessons learned in an intensive and rigorous environment focused on the region, in order to encourage a critical and innovative approach to the fight against evolving threats and gaps in the response in Africa.