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15.04.2008 General News

C'wealth Holds Anti-Terrorism Workshop

By Stephen K. Effah -
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The Commonwealth Secretariat yesterday began a training-of-trainers workshop in Accra to prepare the West African sub-region to prevent, and respond to, terrorist attacks on the continent.

The four-day workshop for police officers, prosecutors, customs officers, and financial investigators from Ghana, The Gambia, Cameroon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, forms part of the Secretariat’s capacity-building project to combat terrorism.

It will, among other things, explore international and regional initiatives, human rights and legal issues in terrorism cases, the application of human and fundamental rights principles and standards to counter terrorism efforts, and terrorism financing.

Mr. Patrick K.Acheampong, Inspector General of Police, in an address, said terrorism is an issue the African continent never bothered about 20 years ago. Now, however, terrorism has gained recognition in the light of the attacks in Kenya,Tanzania and Egypt.

He said terrorism, unlike in years past, has taken a global dimension, making it necessary for Africa to take keen interest in issues of terrorism saying, 'we cannot sit down and pretend it cannot happen in our country.'

The I.G.P said international report on terrorism has traced the training of some terrorists in African facilities, which the security forces must halt.

Terrorism and the drug business are inter-related. 'They are in unholy alliance, since the activities of terrorists are mostly financed by some drug barons.'

In view of that, he urged the security agencies on the continent to adequately equip themselves, since the African continent is becoming a major transit point for drugs to avoid terrorist activities.

'There is the need to look at some of the contemporary issues of terrorism, its history and areas where terrorism thrives,' he urged.

Mr. Acheampong urged participants to take advantage of the workshop to update their knowledge on the issue to place them on top of preventing and responding to terrorism.

The Attorney General, Mr Joe Ghartey, said the scourge of terrorism is unlike ordinary warfare as large numbers of people are killed, massacred and maimed in indiscriminate random acts of violence and terror.

He said that it is obvious that the effect of terrorism transcends borders of states where terrorist acts are carried out due to its organised nature, and called for concerted efforts to fight it globally.

He said an effective way of undermining the capacity of terrorist organisations is to prevent their funds from entering the global finance system.

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