Mr Ousman Sonko said the rise in terrorist attacks in those West African countries demand an immediate action in order to prevent a spill over to other countries in the sub-region.
He added: “Although there has not been any terrorist attack in The Gambia, there has been an increase in activities of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other militant groups… The Boko Haram activities in Nigeria are another example of terrorism which if not controlled may spread to other countries in West Africa.
“Terrorism and terrorist attacks have attracted the attention of the international community, regional and nation states. The global call to fight terrorism has been demonstrated by the steps taken by the international organisations to address the menace. The Gambia has taken giant steps against terrorism and terrorism financing by enacting the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2012, and the anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing Act of 2012. In order to have a robust, growing and vibrant financial system and developed economy, there is the need to make it difficult for criminals to access the financial system. The country stands to attract tourists, investors and businesses if appropriate measures are taken to enhance the already existing peace and tranquility the country has already attained.”
Minister Sonko made these comments at the National Assembly on Monday while tabling for ratification of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of Financing Terrorism. With the assembly’s approval, The Gambia has now joined 185 countries that have ratified the convention which came into force in 2002. The convention obliges states to criminalise terrorism financing in their national laws.
“We in The Gambia condemn terrorism in all its forms,” said Mr Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the majority leader and Member for Serekunda East while contributing to the debate.
He added: “There is a need to curb the menace of international terrorism and terrorism financing. This calls for concerted efforts and partnership. The dictates in the convention are how states can collaborate in getting accused persons before the law as well as extradite individual suspects.”
Mr Habiboulie Jawo, the Member for Jimara condemned the terrorists’ use of religion to justify their acts of violence. “The terrorists have no boundaries. So with the ratification of this convention, The Gambia will stand better to fight terrorists and their sponsors,” he said.
Bintanding Jarju, Member for Foni Brefet described terrorism as “a hideous crime” which affects mostly children and women.
By Sainey Marenah]]>