SEYCHELLES HOSTS AFRICAN ANTI TERROR WORKSHOP
True to a recent comment made by the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon. Joel Morgan, in an interview with this correspondent, is the Seychelles’ fight against terror in all shapes and forms continuing, this time with a three day workshop organized by the African Union and the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism on the main island of Mahe. The gathering of 25 experts from 15 participating African countries is taking place between 04th and 06th of July at the Le Meridien Barbarons Resort and is tasked to look at increased protection of existing ‘sensitive sites and areas’ but also to identify new threats and develop recommendations but also look at the real root causes of terror in Africa, which can be taken on board by the AU and member governments. Such threat assessments have in the recent past expanded from aviation over land based infrastructural assets, meeting places and hospitality businesses to e-Trade but also into the open ocean, where the minister in the interview left no doubt that piracy is just another form of terrorism and needs the same level of global cooperation to identify ringleaders, ring-fence the money flows and bar access to such accounts and decisively engage the ocean terrorists as soon as they leave Somalia’s national waters with the aim to become a menace to international shipping. The Seychelles have become a centre piece in the global fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean and the country’s example has triggered interest by other Indian Ocean countries on the mainland, like Tanzania, to work closer together to protect the sea lanes and keep them open for commercial and passenger shipping.
The Seychelles has also as one of the first countries come out in the open and insisted on shipping to and from the archipelago, and through the national waters, to carry armed guards for added protection of cruise liners and cargo vessels, with the experience from this showing that not one of those under such special protection has been captured by the Somali terrorists.
The Seychelles are now the base for much of the aerial surveillance carried out through assets offered by friendly nations and the country’s own aircraft and considered absolutely crucial in the protection afforded to shipping across the economic exclusion zone which expands 200 nautical miles around the 115 islands of the archipelago, all the way to the Mozambique channel where the Aldabra Atoll is the last and remotest of these islands. As a result cruise lines are now starting to come back to call on the port of Victoria to the benefit of the entire tourism industry and the economy at large.
Watch this space.