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26.11.2014 20:29 News >> Kenya Hosts Sub-Sahara Meet On Armed Conflict

Kenya Hosts Sub-Sahara Meet On Armed Conflict

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Joseph Ole Lenku on Wednesday opened the sub Saharan Africa regional review conference on armed conflict and development.

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Joseph Ole Lenku on Wednesday opened the sub-Saharan Africa regional review conference on armed conflict and development.

"We believe there is no higher goal and no greater contribution than preventing armed conflict," Lenku said at the opening ceremony.

"Kenya's commitment to finding solutions to the problems associated with violence and development at the international, regional and sub-regional levels has been consistent," he asserted.

"It is our conviction that we must prevent conflict, protect human life and promote human development. We believe lasting prevention is the means to achieve our collective objective," he added.

Lenku said that armed conflict in Africa mostly affected ethnic groups, gender and religious communities, pointing out that the flow of conventional weapons and small arms posed a grave danger to the East Africa region.

"Armed conflict denies people their fundamental rights, personal security and their ability to participate socially in their communities. It also degrades the environment, fuels the illegal exploitation of natural resources and abets terrorism," he stressed.

"The proliferation of small arms and light weapons, with which most wars are fought today, poses the gravest threat to peace and stability in our region and the Horn of Africa," he added.

Lenku went on to note that recent research had revealed that some 740,000 people were killed every year in different parts of the world – directly or indirectly – as a result of armed conflict.

Sponsored by the UN Development Program, the two-day conference is being organized by the Geneva Declaration in partnership with the Kenyan government.

Over 100 representatives of African governments, international organizations, local authorities and civil society organizations turned up for the event.

-Radicalization-

Lenku said the conference must address the issue of radical extremism and its impact on vulnerable youth.

"This issue is a matter of great concern to the Government of Kenya," he said. "Young people have been at the center of planned violence, since they are easy to manipulate."

"The current recruitment of youth by terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab is a case in point," Lenku added.

Youth, he went on, "are a critical element in ensuring sustainable development. We must fill the gaps that can be exploited by the perpetrators of violence to influence young people."

The cabinet secretary also cited recent measures taken by the Kenyan government to address the factors that lead to insecurity.

"Over 25,000 illicit arms have been destroyed and an additional 5,000 have been recovered and are awaiting destruction," he said.

Lenku added: "In northern Kenya, which is affected by violence due to resource-based conflict, the government has established a 'National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management' to coordinate peace efforts and conflict management initiatives."

In recent years, Kenya has been rocked by a number of terrorist attacks, most of which were claimed by Somalia's Al-Shabaab militant group.

englishnews@aa.com.tr

www.aa.com.tr/en - Nayrobi



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