The rise in extremist groups and political instability in some of the Horn of Africa countries could undermine the efforts in addressing insecurity, piracy and drug trafficking, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, said Sunday.
Mohammed Ali Guyo, the IGAD special envoy for the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Somalia, said that the situation had been exacerbated by the recent drought, which displaced thousands.
“We have seen a rise in terrorism, piracy, armed robbery and sea kidnappings in the region, and the lack of security cooperation among member States has worsened the situation,” Guyo told journalists in the Kenyan lakeside town of Naivasha.
He made these remarks after a task force appointed by IGAD to identify challenges and opportunities in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea presented its report to the eight member states. Guyo also highlighted that illicit routes were being used for trafficking drugs, weapons, human beings and contraband.
He called for concerted efforts among all member states, as climate change disrupted livelihoods and led to a rise in insecurity as affected communities struggled for food, water and pastures.
Moi Lemoshira, the director-general of the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, noted that insecurity in the region had negatively impacted development, and the rise in terrorism and extremist groups affected all member states, hence the need for joint collaboration.
“The Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea have enormous potential, but insecurity, political transitions, and instability in some member countries have hindered efforts to reap the benefits of the region,” he said.
The Kenyan official commended the task force launched to examine the opportunities and challenges of the IGAD region, adding that their report would assist in developing a roadmap.
“The full effects of climate change have been felt in the last two years, and this, coupled with instability in some countries, has created a window for insecurity and terrorism,” Lemoshira said.