By Sheji Halima
African countries should focus on enhanced border security to stem movement of fighters linked to designated terrorist networks, an official of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Thursday.
Marcellino Ramkishun, senior migration border management specialist at IOM East and Horn of Africa Regional Office said that enhanced screening at ports of entry across Africa is key to detect terrorists and their financiers.
“African governments should reform migration policies to boost border security as evidence indicate that terrorists are exploiting porous borders to cross over from one country to another and stage attacks,
“ Ramkishun said on the sidelines of a Pan African counterterrorism forum underway in Nairobi,’’ he said.
He said that improved management of migrant’s data will boost the capacity of custom officials to detect risky travelers like terrorists, human and drug traffickers.
“Technology will help border patrol agents capture data of migrants and identify the ones who pose a security threat to host countries,’’ added Ramkishun.
He observed that uncontrolled migration is likely to fuel terrorism in African hotspots like the Sahel and greater Horn of African region.
He said that multilateral institutions have partnered with African governments to strengthen border management amid spike in trans-national crimes.
“Collaboration with regional blocs has focused on improving the capacity of custom officials and law enforcement agencies to facilitate movement of migrants that are not a security threat,’’ said Ramkishun.
He said that border security has gradually improved across Africa thanks to adoption of modern technology as well as capacity development for immigration officers.
Ramkishun said that improved governance, policy harmonisation and inter-country collaboration is key to stem movement of armed groups across African borders.
“Good governance is key to ensure travel documents are not obtained fraudulently by criminal elements,’’ said Ramkishun. (Xinhua/NAN)