19 May 2014
South African President Jacob Zuma has expressed concern over the activities of armed rebels on the continent, and has called on the African Union (AU) to take steps to bring about stability.
Zuma’s call, made in a statement on Sunday, come in the wake of the abduction of 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria and the bomb attacks that left 10 people dead in Kenya last week.
He said the AU’s Standby Force needed capacity, adding that South Africa aimed to discuss the security situation on the continent at the next African Union Peace and Security Council gathering.
“It is crucial to build a stronger and a well-resourced African Union to take forward the promotion of peace, security and the socio-economic advancement of the continent,” Zuma said.
“Part of the capacity needed by the AU is the establishment of the African Standby Force for rapid deployment in crisis areas without delays.”
Zuma also spoke out on the abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls by militant Islamist group Boko-Haram, calling on the kidnappers to release the children without further delay.
Regarding the bombing and killing of civilians in Kenya, Zuma said the targeting of unarmed and innocent civilians was deplorable. On Friday, a bomb attack at a Nairobi market left 10 people dead and scores wounded.
“The South African government reiterates its condemnation of all forms and manner of terrorism. South Africa believes that terrorism, in any form and from whichever quarter cannot be condoned.”
Zuma also called on the people of the Central African Republic to work towards peace in their country. “The people of the CAR have endured enough strife and conflict. We urge all leaders in the CAR to unite the people behind a common vision of peaceful co-existence and national unity.”
He reiterated his full support for the African Union international support mission to the Central African Republic, while calling on all parties in the CAR to cooperate fully with the mission.