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Kampala Geopolitics Conference: Experts to Discuss Countering Expansion of Islamist Terrorism

A senior Ugandan army official recently revealed the youth remained a point of target by terrorist recruiters in the region.

Deputy Defence Spokesperson Lt Col Deo Akiiki said globally, while often hailed as the leaders of tomorrow, the role that the world’s approximately 1.8 billion young people about one quarter of the global population can play today in promoting more peace full and inclusive societies is often overlooked.

He said engagements and sensitization campaigns were a stepping stone in “understanding and nurturing the youth of Uganda to have positive resilience and youth led activitism to maintain the status quo and ensure a free violent extremism Uganda.”

While Islamist extremism can be traced back in history for centuries, the kind of Islamist terrorism we see nowadays, which has gripped many countries and has caused deaths around the world, is a phenomenon that came up prominently in the second half of the 20th century and has risen significantly over the past three decades.

Latest with the 9-11 attacks in 2001, Islamist terrorism has been recognized as a major threat to global peace and stability. But intensified efforts to fight terrorism have barely brought a relief.

In fact, Islamist terrorist networks seem to be expanding, zones of protracted conflict and failing states provide a refuge and breeding ground for terrorist forces, and the fight against terrorism becomes a more and more complex undertaking.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan are the countries most associated with Islamist terrorism in the public perception – and indeed they are the most affected, together with Nigeria. But a dangerous trend of expansion has struck many other countries already.

In Africa, apart from Nigeria and Somalia that have been hotspots for a long time, the Sahel has turned into an epicenter of Jihadism. And the threat is increasingly spilling over into nearby countries in West Africa, as terror attacks in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso have shown in the recent past.

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During the two –day October 26/25 Kampala Geopolitics Conference at Makerere University, experts will share insights on what can explain this trend.

Some of the questions the participants will address include: “What are the key factors that enable terrorist forces to survive, expand and recruit? How do we respond to this trend and the resulting threats? Who are the key actors in the fight against terrorism and what are their strategies? What are the most urgent protective and preventive measures to fight terrorism effectively? How should a holistic anti-terror agenda look like?

The partners involved in the event are The Embassy of France, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Makerere University, the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), Alliance Française Kampala and UN Women.

The French Ambassador to Uganda, Stephanie Rivoal said the conference aims at creating an interactive and dynamic platform for dialogue and free exchange of ideas cutting across contemporary, local and international geopolitics.

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