ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Wednesday urged East African countries to exert joint efforts in dealing with emerging transnational security threats, with particular emphasis on cyber-assisted terrorism perils.
"Terrorism, with its ever-changing and evolving nature, is one of the serious transnational security threats that affect the region," the East African bloc said in a statement on Wednesday, as it emphasized that terrorists and their networks are becoming transnational with cells and members scattered across borders using various forms of technology to coordinate and communicate their activities.
IGAD also emphasized the growing security threats from the internet, various technological advancements, and social media that are increasingly used to facilitate terrorist activities, such as recruitment, communications, radicalization, training, financing, incitement, preparation, planning, and collection information through secret chat rooms, encrypted Internet messages boards, fake email accounts, mobile applications, among others.
"This has called for more comprehensive approach to counterterrorism by understanding the role Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays and utilized by terrorists," the statement read, adding "cyber terrorism is a real threat that may use the available infrastructure through cyberspace, in which terrorist could apply directly or indirectly."
The regional bloc also stressed the crucial need to apply digital forensics as one of the tools to identify the source of these attacks.
Noting the complex and sophisticated nature of terrorism cases, IGAD also stressed the "huge significance to have dedicated response from relevant officials who are involved in tracking terrorists and bringing them to justice."
IGAD's call came amid an ongoing capacity-building initiative that aimed to enhance the capacity of countries in the eight-member regional bloc.
According to IGAD's Security Sector Program Director, Abebe Muluneh, having the capability in dealing with digital evidence and the overall cybercrime dynamism is an important imperative for regional security apparatuses.
"Due to the increasing complexity of terrorism cases, successful prosecution in terrorism cases requires intense coordination during the investigation phase related to the gathering of evidence and on the use of general or specific investigative tools available," said Muluneh.
"Considering the transnational and transnational threat of terrorism, strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation between States is crucial," he added.