Addis Ababa — The AU’s peace and security chief, Smail Chergui, called on Monday for member states to tackle the root causes of extremism, as he deplored the spread of “terrorism” in the Sahel region. “Terrorism is expanding,” Chergui told journalists on the sidelines of an AU summit in Addis Ababa, pointing in particular to countries on the Sahara’s southern rim. “There are increasing numbers of terrorist movements, who attack civilian populations and institutions in these countries. Almost on a daily basis, Burkina Faso now is facing criminal and terrorist attacks,” he said. Chergui said the combination of extremist attacks, inter-ethnic conflict and clashes between pastoral and agricultural communities was leading to an “unprecedented high level of violence”. He said that AU member states had agreed to address the scourge of extremism in a more comprehensive manner.

This meant not only through “military and security responses, but also other means in terms of governance, in...

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