Intelligence chiefs from the East African countries have today met to discuss the threat posed by armed groups including Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) to the security of the region and continent at large.
African countries come together under the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa(CISSA).
The two day conference held at the Pearl of Africa hotel in Kampala will be under the theme, ‘armed groups and their nexus to terrorism’.
According to External Security Organisation Director General, Joseph Ocwet the conference will look at how armed groups tap into the regional’s natural resources for their own benefit to carry out criminal activities like human trafficking which are obstacles to peace, prosperity and transformation of the countries.
“Armed groups have led to death of many people, displacement of others but these can be dealt with through cooperation of countries and share intelligence to be able to fight them,” Ocwet said.
They cited Al Shabaab militants who have become a menace to the entire region despite being based in Somalia.
“They(Al Shabaab) look at Uganda as an enemy because of the presence of our troops in Somalia and are everyday planning to attack. With intelligence sharing among countries, we can thwart the attacks,”the ESO director said.
According to officials international terrorist organizations including Islamic State in Syria and Levante(ISIL) and Al Quaeda have on many occasions funded the activities of armed groups in Africa including Al Shabaab and ADF.
Lt.Gen. Wilson Mbadi, the UPDF Deputy Chief of Defence Forces said the conference is timely and will help them share intelligence information in regards to the various non- state actors that have become a menace to African countries.
“Information collectors and processors (intelligence organs) are handy to give information to be used in decision making by the various countries. As we come together, we need to share lessons about the various armed groups,”Lt.Gen.Mbadi said.
Ocwet said there is a big problem of cyber-crime with cases increasing day by day, adding that information sharing by various countries would help to fight the crime.
The conference also acknowledged that being located near the Kivu province in Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda is prone to attacks by ADF insurgents.
The rebel group which was recently declared a terrorist organisation operates in North Kivu which borders other provinces including Ituri to the north and South Kivu to the South and has been a battle ground for a number of rival armed ethnic groups since 1998.
The province consists of three cities including; Goma, Butembo and Beni as well as six territories—Beni, Lubero, Masisi, Rutshuru.
As of February 2018, attacks by ADF rebels in Eastern Congo had led to displacement of over 10,000 people to Uganda as refugees.