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Foreign military contractors, mercenaries, fighters 'should get out of Africa': AU official

External forces inflaming tensions, complicating efforts for peace in Africa, says African Union commissioner

Seleshi Tessema   | 06.02.2022
Foreign military contractors, mercenaries, fighters 'should get out of Africa': AU official African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye holds a press conference within the 35th session of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 06, 2022. ( Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency )

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

The African Union (AU) has been discussing ways to expel private military contractors, mercenaries and foreign fighters from conflicts zones in Africa, a top official said on Sunday.

Armed external forces have become increasingly involved in various conflicts in Africa, inflaming tensions and complicating efforts for peaceful resolution, said Bankole Adeoye, AU commissioner for political affairs, peace and security.

“There is a phenomenal expansion of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization in all our regions and they have to deal with this scourge,” he said at a news conference on the sidelines of the AU summit underway in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

“They should get out of Africa and we are working on it as an important issue,” he asserted.

He said the 55-member AU has decided “to formulate an actionable roadmap” to chart a course for the fight against terrorism, extremism, and conflict.

“To this end, the AU will have a special summit of heads of state and government in Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, in May,” Adeoye added.

Conflict in Ethiopia

A negotiated political solution is the only way to end the conflict between Ethiopia’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in the country’s north, the official said.

“Unconditional cessation of hostilities and an inclusive political dialogue is what we demand, and we are fully engaged with the parties to the conflict,” Adeoye said.

He said member states will also support former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is leading efforts for peace in Ethiopia as the AU high representative for the Horn of Africa.

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