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By Godfrey Olukya 30-11-2013

Combating terrorism and illicit trafficking were the focus of an
international audience who gathered recently in Cameroon,Africa press
has reported.

The U.S. Africa Center for Stratetic Studies (ACSS) co-hosted a
symposium on regional counter-terrorism cooperation and the fight
against illicit trafficking in Yaoundé on Wednesday, November 20,
2013, in partnership with the ACSS Community Chapter in Cameroon and
the U.S. Embassy.

The event took place at the Yaoundé International War College (Ecole
supérieure internationale de guerre de Yaoundé [ESIG]). The more than
100 participants included Africa Center community members from the
Cameroon Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, and the University of Yaoundé.

Also in the attendance was a diverse international group of 42 ESIG
students representing nearly 20 nationalities, including the United
States, who are currently in the midst of a 10-month study program at
ESIG. Another group of 12 students from the National School of
Security Forces (Ecole nationale de forces de sécurité [ENFS])
attended as well.

Presentations focused on defining and improving regional cooperation
in countering terrorism and the threats associated with illicit
trafficking.

In his opening remarks, ESIG Commandant Major General Esaïe Ngambou
expressed his satisfaction with the selection of topics. “The Africa
Center chose two challenging issues that are at the heart of our
current preoccupations: regional cooperation against terrorism and
illicit trafficking.” He also mentioned that this year’s annual ESIG
colloquium will focus on border security, making the symposium a
fitting beginning to the colloquium’s preparations.

Colonel Gabriel Metogo Atangana, the ACSS Chapter President, explained
the pertinence of the topics discussed, at a time when Cameroon faces
the challenges of Boko Haram’s spillover in the northern part of the
country.

“ACSS has maintained for nearly 10 years now a close cooperation with
the armed forces and law enforcement forces of Cameroon,” he said.
“The choice of today’s topics is explained by the magnitude and
damaging effects, as well as the consequences in the communities which
are affected by these threats,” he noted.

Mr. John Harney, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Project Manager at the
J5 Counter-narcotics and Law Enforcement Division, provided an
overview of illicit trafficking and laid out how AFRICOM deals with
the issue. He also pointed out interagency efforts to harmonize the
U.S. government effort in building West African capacities to combat
transnational organized crime, particularly narcotic trafficking.

“It takes a network to defeat a network,” Mr. Harney noted,
highlighting the importance of international cooperation in defeating
international illicit trafficking networks.

The consensus following the symposium was that Cameroonians’
challenges are global challenges. As a result, it will take an
all-inclusive effort—for the U.S. and African partners—to deter and
defeat transnational threats and provide a security environment
conducive to good governance and development. Participants also agreed
that deeper regional cooperation and international cooperation are
keys to success.

END

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