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Pan-African Summit Aims to Improve Security


Security Chiefs from 21 African nations are in the Rwandan capital Kigali for a meeting of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa, knows by its acronym CISSA. The summit will tackle a number of issues aimed at improving security in African nations. Noel King has more in this report from Kigali.

The Pan-African summit opened on Monday with delegates vowing to work together to help stabilize African countries gripped by conflict, through the exchange of intelligence.

CISSA Executive Secretary Denis Dlomo of South Africa spoke to journalists at the opening of the conference.

"Our main objective is to develop genocide indicators which will serve as early warning to the African Union, to enable the African Union to take steps in preventing genocide on the African continent," said Dlomo.

Also on the agenda are the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region and the disarmament of Hutu militias in eastern Congo, who have links to the perpetrators of Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

Rwandan delegates stressed at the summit's opening, that they expect the conference to address concrete ways of disarming the militias, known as the FDLR.

Congo, which is a member of CISSA, did not send a representative to the conference.

Dlomo said disarmament of the FDLR is at the top of CISSA's agenda, but stressed that the group works only in an advisory capacity.

"All we do is to advise the African Union, provide them with intelligence and leave it up to the leaders of the continent to decide what steps should be taken.," said Dlomo.

Relations between Rwanda and Congo have been icy for years.

Rwanda wants the FDLR brought to justice for their role in the genocide and has twice invaded Congo to track down the militias.

Rwandan officials accuse Congo of failing to do enough to neutralize the FDLR, and in some instances collaborating with the militias to fight other rebel groups in eastern Congo.

Dlomo said the summit would also aim to provide recommendations for Sudan's Darfur region.

Darfur has been wracked by a four-year conflict between predominantly African rebels and government-backed Arab militias, in which an estimated 200,000 people have died.

The United States has labeled the Darfur killings as genocide, citing the ethnic component of the conflict and the systematic destruction of civilian villages.

CISSA Executive Secretary Denis Dlomo said the group does not identify the Darfur conflict as genocide, but did not elaborate. CISSA member Sudan is present at this week's summit.

The week-long summit is set to conclude on Saturday.

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