East African leaders meet in Jordan to discuss efforts to counter terrorism

Jordan's King Abdullah hosted the presidents of Rwanda, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo

A member of the Royal Jordanian Navy takes part in international maritime exercises in the Gulf of Aqaba in February. US Naval Forces Central Command via Reuters

East African heads of state and western security officials met in Jordan’s port city of Aqaba on Thursday to discuss ways to counter terrorism in the region, state media said.

The kingdom of 10 million people, which hosts US military bases, considers itself a leading ally in America's efforts against extremism.

Jordan's King Abdullah attended some of the discussions, which focused on co-ordinating a response to “newly found” terrorist threats, Petra news agency said.

Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique and Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo attended the meetings, as well as security officials from the United States, Europe, East Asia and Latin America.

“The participants focused on continuing the work to confront the sources of threats by terrorist and extremist groups, especially preventing them from expanding,” the news agency said.

The meetings – part of the so-called Aqaba Process, a counter-terrorism forum founded by King Abdullah in 2015 – took place at the Red Sea city, where the king has a palace.

Western military vessels on anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Africa sometimes dock at the port.

A recent report by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which is based in Sydney, said the Middle East and North Africa region accounted for 39 per cent of the terrorism-related deaths worldwide between 2007 and 2021.

Last year, the region’s share of the global total dropped substantially, partly because of the weakening of ISIS, the report said.

It said Africa's Sahel region accounted for about half the terrorism-related deaths in 2021.

The number of deaths worldwide from terrorism last year was 7,142 – a drop of 1.2 per cent from the previous year and a third of the total recorded in 2015, the report said.

Updated: March 25, 2022, 6:43 AM