Uganda has been chosen to establish the East African Fusion and Liaison Unit in line with a resolution of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.
Drawing from the experience of the Sahel region on tackling terrorism and extremism, the council encouraged the establishment of the East African Fusion and Liaison units.
This comprises of the intelligence and security services of countries including Uganda (host nation), Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan and Tanzania.
The member states will each be represented by one liaison officer or ambassador deployed at the unit and supported by a technical team from the host country (Uganda).
The Minister of State for East African Community Affairs, Maganda Julius Wandera has confirmed the developments at the media briefing in Kampala noting with concern that,
“In September 2014, the peace and security council of the African Union sitting in Nairobi, Kenya, at the level of Heads of state and government noted with concern the increasing scourge of terrorism and violent extremism especially in the Northern, Eastern and Central Africa,” Wandera said.
“The council also observed the growing linkages between terrorism and extremism on one hand and transnational crime on the other, and the threat they pose to peace, security, stability and development of Africa,” he added.
Wandera said that there are three main reasons which prompted the establishment of the fusion and liaison units including;
- Coordinating exchange of information, analysis and operations against the threats of terrorism, extremism and trans-boundary crime.
- Facilitating security agencies in the region in sharing intelligence and in coordinating operations to combat terrorism crime.
- Create and operate a database on terrorism and other forms of organized crime.
He added that every member state is liable to pay a fee mainly for maintaining the office of their representative to help them efficiently run the task at hand as well as feeding their nations with viable information.
“Every member state will pay an annual fee of Shs.650 million to support their liaison officers and African Union will also make an additional contribution from the money they get from African countries and injecting it into the Security Council,” Wandera said.
Despite Uganda being the home for the Liaison staff, Wandera noted that Ugandans will surely benefit highly in this initiative saying that the youth will be able to acquire knowledge on how they can curb the vice of terrorism and ways they can fight it so it does not come to Uganda.
“The basis as to why we’ve come up with the fusion unit is based on the background that the borders of the East African Community especially along the Ocean have suffered a lot of terrorism.
“The Somali invasions for the past years you’ll find that most of these countries have contributed a force to go into Somalia and create independence.
“This has generated a combined force and countries have come together, it is the reason we are having this particular force which in the future we see it creating a big united force for Africa,” Wandera noted.
BY FRANK SEMATA