Tanzania will host a counter-terrorism centre in its commercial hub Dar es Salaam to enhance, facilitate and combat terrorism threats in southern Africa.
The centre, launched on Monday by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), was part of the 16-member bloc’s 2015 resolutions to adopt regional efforts against terrorism, violent extremism and organised crimes.
Tanzania’s Defence minister Dr Stergomena Tax said the country offered to host the Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre, which will deal with “security threats vigorously”.
Once operational, the centre is expected to synergise with the SADC member states’ national and regional early warning centres.
“As the SADC region, we are proud to have achieved this milestone,” noted Elias Magosi, SADC executive secretary.
He added that the countries need to work together “to fight all forms and manifestations of this real threat.”
The establishment of the Sadc RCTC was fueled by the terrorism threat incidents in the region, Mozambique and Eswatini, in particular.
Sadc executive secretary Elias Magosi said the centre was created to ensure enhanced coordination, strengthened partnerships, as well as to foster timely response to terrorism and violent extremism within the region.
The centre comes at a time when the SADC states extended the mandate of the regional troop deployment fighting insurgents in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado in January.
SADC agreed in June 2021 to send troops to help Mozambique counter the insurgency in the northern parts of the country, which began in 2017.
The conflict has claimed thousands of lives and displaced tens of thousands of people.
The deployment was initially scheduled to run for three months before it was extended until the end of 2021.
“Its deployment remains a noble undertaking by SADC, displaying our collective regional response to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism,” said Machana Shamukuni, Botswana’s Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development.
The 16-member states that form the regional economic bloc are South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia, Comoros, Mauritius, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Others are Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, and Seychelles.