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IGAD lawmakers seek to mitigate impact of violent extremism

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Tayebwa pledged to ensure gov’t approves its comprehensive strategy on prevention of violent extremism.

Wakiso, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Lawmakers representing the Defense and Security Committees from Parliaments of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development – IGAD region are in Uganda to legislate on measures to mitigate the impact of violent extremism, especially on women and children.

Founded in 1986, IGAD, an umbrella for eight member states namely; Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, and Eritrea has been seeking harmonized regional instruments to prevent and counter violent extremism Since 2016.

IGAD’s Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu rallied the legislators to allocate resources that are critical in enhancing peace and security in the region, arguing that violent extremism is a growing transnational threat that is increasingly undermining stability, and development, globally.

His message was delivered to the regional legislators’ meeting at Lake Victoria Granada Hotel, Entebbe on Wednesday, by Dr. Simon Nyambura, the Director of IGAD Center of Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (ICEPCVE)

Thomas Tayebwa

While officiating the meeting’s opening, Thomas Tayebwa, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, rallied the legislators to be resolutely dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of women and children by implementing effective measures. Tayebwa pledged to fast-track Uganda’s comprehensive strategy on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, describing it as a pivotal document that has been under review by the Government since 2021.

The Deputy Speaker observed that reducing the threat posed by violent extremists to regional peace and security is central to sustainable development and our shared prosperity. Common legislation signals a joint determination to rid the region of extremist ideologies and terrorism.

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The IGAD region is a historically volatile expanse for radical terrorists who take advantage of a mix of civil wars, conflicts, and insurgencies, tapping into criminal networks, and sparsely populated spaces as safe havens to recruit young people to inflict havoc on vulnerable communities.

Notably, in June 2023, Uganda suffered deadly attacks by suspected Allied Democratic Forces – ADF and Al-Shaabab militants after the armed insurgents killed at least 41 students at Lhubirira Secondary School in Kasese District and 54 soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Force – UPDF respectively in Bulo Marer, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

A 2022 statistics by the African Union highlighted that terrorism and violent extremism were spreading across the continent at an alarming rate. The report indicated that terrorist acts resulted in 7,816 deaths across East, North, West, Central, and Southern Africa.

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