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IGAD member states to combat militia groups jointly

Monday, June 24, 2013

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The Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will cooperate in the fight against militia groups that have launched cross border attacks in the region, a senior official said on Saturday.

IGAD Executive Secretary Mahaboub Maalim told journalists in Nairobi that this is due to the fact that some of the militia groups operate across borders and have been inflicting atrocities in member countries.

"Some of the militia groups have multiple identities across the borders and so member states will have to upgrade regional cooperation," Maalim said when IGAD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Consulting House.

Under the agreement, the Nairobi-based think tank will do research on peace and security in the region for IGAD's secretariat "The information will then be forwarded to the national governments for implementation," he said.

The IGAD member states include Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan and South Sudan. "Without close collaboration, the region will not be able to eliminate the threat caused by the militias," he said.

He added that IGAD has sharpened interventions due to the centrality of the issue.

"The range of responses will range from military interventions to imposing sanctions," he said.

"However, we will have to rely on evidence on the ground so as develop appropriate responses. But, the research will not be limited to one country," he said.

He added that militia groups are multiplying by the day and so the region requires the assistance of national research institutions in order to tackle the problem.

According to IGAD, the level of insecurity in Somalia has not declined even after the end of the mandate of the Transitional Federal Government.

"There is a possibility that a few spoiler groups have emerged in Somalia and are causing the instability," Maalim said.

"We are therefore watching closely and will not hesitate to deal with the groups," he said after deadly terrorist attacks at the UN compound in the Somali capital, Mogadishu last Wednesday killed at least 15 people.

The Consulting House Director Dr Mutahi Ngunyi said that the biggest threat to security in the region is the mushrooming informal governments. "In Kenya, alone there at least 238 militia groups both organic and organized," Ngunyi said.

According to the think-tank, some groups operate in Kenya in the day and then cross over to neighboring countries at night. "So, in order to eliminate the menace, the regional governments will have to implement appropriate police reforms," he said.

Ngunyi added that some of the terror groups have been associated with the rising crime wave in the country.

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