NGOs worry Africa’s spies

In a communiqu’ released in Windhoek, the Third Conference of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services (CISSA) noted that while some NDOs were well-meaning, some of them were operating in a manner that put the security of their host nations in jeopardy.

The conference also expressed concern at security threats in countries like Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, amongst others. In light of this, it was resolved that there was a need to institute a number of measures to address the problem head on by beefing up security intelligence in Africa.

During the weeklong discussions, delegates expressed concern about major threats to the continent’s security. It was against this background that African delegates and members of the international community saw the vital need to host the event.

The establishment of CISSA was prompted by the fact that African states can only achieve national security and advance national interests through cooperation and coordination in the intelligence and security realm.

While trouble spots are still prevalent on the continent, it was felt the positive role played by non-governmental organisations should be recognised.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba during his opening address of the conference said intelligence services in any security environment were the first line of defence.

He said due to globalisation, the free trade of goods and services, and the movement of people were no longer confined to frontiers or boundaries of nations and states.

It turns out that security threats today are very different from the past as they pose new challenges for which a new approach is required.

While on the one hand globalisation can bring along its benefits of sharing technology and improvements in telecommunications, free movement of people and greater scope for concerted international action to deal with poverty and diseases, it has its down side where it can also open the way to money laundering, drug trafficking and organised crime.

Pohamba noted that globalisation has created many challenges for intelligence and security services and thus a greater need exists to jack up its act.

He urged African governments to place increased emphasis on enhanced co-ordination of intelligence to detect and increase the readiness to deal with potential and imminent threats promptly.

At the end of the deliberations, participants reaffirmed their commitment to detect potential and imminent threats to peace and stability in Africa and reiterated CISSA’s commitment to support the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC).

At the same occasion, the United Nations representative on behalf of international partners commended Africa for the efforts to bring together its intelligence and security services under the umbrella of CISSA. The representative also assured the conference of the UN’s readiness to support CISSA’s objectives.

The third conference of CISSA was attended, among others, by director-generals of intelligence and security services in Africa. ‘ Newera-Own staff.

June 2006
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