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Marginalisation, poor governance breed violent extremism-report

This is a maiden study that pinpoints key factors triggering decisions to join violent extremist groups in Africa Deprivation and…

This is a maiden study that pinpoints key factors triggering decisions to join violent extremist groups in Africa

Deprivation and marginalization, underpinned by weak governance, are the primary forces driving young Africans into violent extremism, according to a comprehensive new study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

First of its kind, the two-year UNDP Africa study was conducted in six countries greatly affected by the rise of violent extremism and presents the results on  the recruitment in the most prominent extremist groups in Africa.

Based on interviews with 718 individuals, including 495 voluntary recruits to extremist organizations such as Boko Haram, Islamic State and Al- Shabaab, the study also found that perceived violence by state actors or abuse of power often provides the final tipping point for the decision to join an extremist group.

It is in a bid to share findings and seek sustainable recommendations for tackling violent extremism that the report was launched in Yaoundé on March 2.

« We  are proud to share our analysis of these findings, presented in the Journey to Extremism in Africa report, which we believe  yields important  new  insights into the development response required to tackle violent extremism,  as  well  as  pathways  for more effective policy and programming  responses,” Allegra Baiocchi, Resident Representative of UNDP Cameroon.

“These are important for Cameroon, the rest of the African continent and beyond », she added.

The Northern parts of Cameroon have been hit in recent years by the Boko Haram insurgents in claiming lives and forcing many to join the group against their will.

Amina Aisaha, a survivor of violent extremism narrated the experiences she went through in the bushes with the terrorist.

“Whenever I attempted to escape, they arrested me and imprisoned me for months because I was stubborn and did not want to carry explosives as they wanted,” Aisaha says.

She was finally rescued by a group of Cameroonian traders who brought her to Cameron. However, reintegrating into the society has not been easy as she still carries the Boko Haram stigma in her community.

A task which the UNDP and the Government of Cameroon are trying to facilitate through various programs and micro projects.

“We have a wide range of programs for youths as well as survivors of violent extremism like the PAJER-U, moral rearmament, sponsoring of micro programs and trainings for these persons,” Cameroon’s Minister of Youths and civic Education Mounouna Foutsou said.

The report highlights key recommendations on the various ways and means of preventing violent extremism in Africa. Some of these recommendations include; delivering on global human rights commitments, and rights based approaches to militarized and state-centric counter-terrorism responses, reinvigorating state legitimacy through improved governance performance and accountability, connecting prevention of violent extremism with peacebuilding and sustainable development policy frameworks among others.

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