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UN raises alarm over Sahel region becoming a new hub for terrorism

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday he’s “deeply concerned by the gains terrorist groups are making in the Sahel, and elsewhere.”

Guterres read from prepared remarks delivered at a Security Council meeting on counterterrorism called for by Mozambique, this month’s council president.

“No age, no culture, no religion, no nationality, and no region is immune but the situation in Africa is especially concerning. Despair, poverty, hunger, lack of basic services, unemployment and unconstitutional changes in government continue to lay fertile ground for the creeping expansion of terrorist groups to infect new parts of the continent. I am deeply concerned by the gains terrorist groups are making in the Sahel, and elsewhere."

Mozambique’s President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi led the meeting said , the situation in Africa is particularly critical as terrorist groups depend on illicit activities to funding and recruitment.

“The association of terrorism with transnational organized crime has contributed for the survival and spread of terrorist groups. On the context of the African continent, they have generally resorted to trafficking of mineral resources with emphasis on gemstones and illicit drug trafficking for the funding of their activities through money laundering. These financial resources resulting from illicit activities support the seduction and recruitment of the youth in joining their ranks and files within terrorist groups. And while terrorism is a global threat, the situation in Africa is particularly critical.”

U.K. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations James Kariuki suggested the use of UN sanctions as a solution: “As we work to cut off the funding of terrorism, we encourage greater use of U.N. sanctions regimes on the continent of Africa, whilst ensuring continued delivery of humanitarian assistance to states responding to crises.”

“We deeply, deeply value our cooperation with regional partners on the al-Shabab sanctions regime. We have used this to continue tightening the norms on al-Shabab, including through sponsoring the designation of individuals associated with that group,” Kariuki added.

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