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African Union to Set Up Terrorism Research Center in Algiers - 2004-03-17

The African Union has announced plans to set up a terrorism information and research center in the Algerian capital, Algiers, by the end of the year.

The African Union's anti-terrorism specialist, Martin Ewi, says the new center's focus will be on how to stop terrorist attacks from happening, especially on the African continent.

Mr. Ewi explains the center will be a research institute, offering many activities beyond the collection of information and data.

"The data will be used to forecast, to predict terrorist activities anywhere. The center also, as provided in the Plan of Action, will help in training African experts on anti-terrorism matters. We will conduct symposia, workshops, conferences related to terrorism," he said.

Mr. Ewi stresses the center is meant to be the African Union's research wing on terrorism and could, among other things, coordinate the anti-terrorism efforts of the organization and member states.

"Say, for example, the African Union is looking for how to intensify integration or cooperation among member states for the prevention and combating of terrorism. The center will help to provide strategies (on) how the African Union can go about doing this," he explained.

The idea of the anti-terrorism center was first conceived at an inter-governmental meeting held in Algeria in 2002. There, ministers came up with the African Union Plan of Action for the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, which included establishing a research and information center.

Mr. Ewi says the Algerian government has agreed to provide the center's infrastructure. Funding for the center is expected to come from the Africa Union's terrorism fund, as well as from donors, who are currently in negotiations with the organization.