African leaders have called for strong action against threats by militants as terrorism spreads across the continent from Nigeria to Kenya.
The call was made during a two-day summit of the 54-nation African Union (AU) in Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo, on Thursday.
Egypt’s newly-elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who also participated in the summit, called for closer cooperation against terrorism and pledged a peacemaking role for Africa.
“The continent faces an increasing challenge in trans-border threats, with terrorism at the forefront,” Sisi told the opening ceremony.
The summit was held as a powerful bomb explosion in Nigeria’s capital on Wednesday made President Goodluck Jonathan immediately travel back home. The explosion killed at least 21 people.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was also present at the summit, demanded an end to violence in the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
The crisis in South Sudan began after President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup in December 2013.
The conflict soon turned into an all-out war between the army and defectors, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension pitting the president’s tribe against Machar’s. Thousands of people have so far been killed and more than one million displaced in the war.
Ban also asked Mali’s government to enter talks with fighters in the north. Chaos broke out in Mali after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a coup in March 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country.
Meanwhile, all AU leaders pledged their support for the African security and said that they will work with the UN to strengthen it.