Terror threat…Minister says Zimbabwe on high alert
ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe is on high terror attack alert following a spate of terrorist attacks in Mali and France in the past few weeks, the Minister of State Security, Cde Kembo Mohadi, said yesterday. In an exclusive interview, Cde Mohadi told The Chronicle that the government had drawn lessons from the world’s growing vulnerability to terror violence following the recent attacks.
“As government we’re seized with the matter (terror attacks). We’re not sitting on our laurels because what recently happened in France and lately in Mali is an issue of global concern. It can also happen to us. We’ve drawn lessons from that and we’re alert,” he said.
Cde Mohadi said security officials from Zimbabwe and Zambia met last week in Lusaka to discuss ways of fighting the trend under the auspices of the two countries’ joint permanent commission on defence and security. He said top of the agenda were the issues of global terrorism and money laundering.
“Zimbabwe is a signatory to anti-terrorism protocols through Interpol and other international bodies. We also have something to do with transnational crime which we undertake both regionally and internationally,” said the Minister.
“Last week we met our Zambian counterparts in Lusaka under a joint permanent commission on defence and security and among the major issues discussed was global terrorism and money laundering.” Cde Mohadi said laundered money is used to fund terror attacks.
He said Zimbabwe had an obligation to fight terrorism together with other countries since terrorism knows no boundaries. Cde Mohadi said Zimbabwe was working with all the 14 countries in the Sadc region in terms of intelligence.
“In the Sadc we’ve structures that deal with anti-terrorism issues and as a country we do contribute in terms of intelligence. In fact, it’s every country’s responsibility to fight terrorism and we’re always liaising with other countries regionally and internationally in terms of exchange of security,” said the Minister.
Zimbabwe is part of the joint permanent commissions on defence and security with all Sadc countries. Cde Mohadi said the November terror attacks in Mali and France highlighted a rising global susceptibility to terrorism which called for concerted efforts in the fight against acts of terror.
The Mali terror attack at a luxury hotel in the capital, Bamako, left at least 21 people dead, including two militants. It came less than a week after the Paris gun and suicide bomb attacks in which 130 people were killed and several others injured.
In Mali, a group of heavily armed and seemingly well-trained gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. They drove unchallenged into an inner compound, detonated grenades, opened fire at security guards and then took hostage about 170 people — among them diplomats, a celebrated Guinean singer and air crew from France and Turkey, as well as Indian and Chinese nationals. Three Chinese, one American and one Belgian were among the dead.
In France, on the evening of November 13, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in the capital Paris, and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis. Three suicide bombers struck near the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, followed by suicide bombings and mass shootings at cafés, restaurants and a music venue in Paris.
The attackers killed 130 people, including 89 at the Bataclan theatre where they took hostages before engaging in a stand-off with police. In April masked al-Shabaab militants stormed dormitories at Garissa University College in eastern Kenya and killed 147 people.
More than 500 students were rescued after the Islamist militants, heavily armed and strapped with explosives, attacked the campus and took others hostage.