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Terrorism: East Africa

Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the threat posed to the UK by terrorist factions in East Africa, with particular reference to Somalia. (164096)

Al-Qaeda and its local affiliates have a long history of terrorist activity in East Africa, from the Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam bombings of 1998 through to more recent activity in Somalia. Al-Qaeda has exploited the absence of an effective government in Somalia to use the country as a base for both terrorist training and planning. This threat is mainly focused on the region, but is sometimes directed against the UK. The UK is home to a small number of extremists of East African origin, as the failed 21 July 2005 attacks in London demonstrated.

The UK’s policy is to return peace, stability and governance to Somalia. We, with our international partners, are supporting the Transitional Federal Institutions, established by the Transitional Federal Charter. This envisages elections at the end of the transitional period in order to establish a democratically elected government in Somalia. Resolving the instability and lack of governance in Somalia through this mechanism will help counter the terrorist threat in the country.