Friday, 7 June 2013

AU’s Rapid Reaction Force

The announcement by African Leaders to establish a Rapid Reaction Force at the just ended AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is welcome news and should be embraced by all peace-loving people who believe in the principles of democracy. This will help mitigate the rampant rebel security threats across the African continent. Africa's inability to achieve economic emancipation could partly be attributed to these threats due to its repercussion on political and socio-economic growth. Barely 72 hours after the African Leaders' decision was announced, the Nigeria Army and Spy Agency discovered on armoury belonging to the Lebanese group Hezbollah in a warehouse in the city of Kano. There have been concerns that Boko Haram could be receiving backing from al- Qaeda militants in other countries. The discovery has buttressed President Mahama's exclusive interview on BBC that Islamist Militancy could destabilise the whole of West Africa. Who knows the number of armouries hidden in other African countries. As President Mahama said, though Ghana has not been directly affected, no country is safe if insurgency is allowed to take hold elsewhere. When Nigeria based Jama 'atu Ahl as - Sunnah il Da'awati wal-Jihad, commonly known as Boko Haram emerged, many were those who thought it will not last. Unfortunately, it has emerged as one of the recognised rebel group in Africa. It was responsible for the August 2011 car bomb attack on a UN facility in Abuja, Nigeria, which killed at least 23 people and injured 80. There are a number of rebel groups littered across the continent whose aim is to draw the clock of progress back. The good news is that Boko Haram has been officially banned by the Nigerian government and declared a terrorist network. The move follows an announcement by the US that it will pay an unprecedented bounty for the capture of key leaders of the networks in West and North Africa. The UN Security Council has also blacklisted Syria's al - Nusra Front as a Friend of al-Qaeda in Iraq, a decision that will subject the group to sanctions including arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze. Even a women rebel group known as Black widows has emerged causing suicide bombings.

It is inhuman and disheartening to hear rebel groups boldly claiming responsibility for undertaking deadly bombings. Recently, Security Experts across the globe met in Accra to deliberate on International benchmarks for quality training and education in security sector reform. Deputy Minister of Defence, Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi assured Ghanaians of government's commitment to support key institutions in the security sector for greater peace and stability through the rule of law. It is the hope of Ghanaians that the assurance by the Deputy Minister would be fully implemented but not be kept in the archives as a political statement. The proposed Rapid Reaction Force could be effective in monitoring the surveillance if it is well resourced. Loyalty and Commitment are also needed from members of the Force as they could be coerced to form rebel groups if they are not well remunerated. Security experts who participated in the training and education in Accra should collaborate with the Rapid Reaction Force so that in unison, they can formulate strategies to combat rebel attack. The discovery of armoury made in Nigeria should be a lesson to African leaders. It should also encourage them to speed up the process and remove whatever barriers that may affect the establishment of the Rapid Reaction Force. There is a saying that when fire catches your friend's beard, you draw water closer to yours. Though Ghana and a few other countries have not experienced any terrorist attack it is worth to note that no African country is safe as far as militancy and rebel threats are concerned.

BY: ISSAH SHAIBU, A JOURNALIST.

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