Violent extremism thrives on fragile democracy – Madam Virginia Palmer

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Madam Virginia Palmer, the US ambassador to Ghana, says that violent extremism thrives when state officials are absent; Delivery of services is weak and when democracy is fragile or transitory.

He said it flourishes even when justice is out of reach and when there is economic and political exclusion.
Madam Palmer said this at the closing ceremony of the US Special Operations Command – Africa Exercise Flintlock 2023, jointly hosted by Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, in Accra.

Flintlock is the US Africa Command’s flagship and largest annual special operations exercise, aimed at reinforcing major partner nation forces across Africa with the US and international special operations forces communities to combat violent extremist organizations that cooperate across borders Is.

The two-week field training exercise is now a multinational exercise involving 30 African and international partners, operating at five sites spread across two countries (Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) and includes command post exercises, field training exercises and now, are organized for. For the first time, a sea training exercise with 1400 participants.

The exercise began with a week of academic training on March 1, 2023 before transitioning to command posts and tactical training exercises on March 7.

The training ends with a capstone on March 14, 2023.

He noted that the strength and influence of violent extremist groups has increased dramatically.

He noted that threats to civilians, reports of human rights abuses and violations, and the level of displacement and humanitarian needs are all increasing.

The ambassador said for the United States, instability in the Sahel was a security problem with a democratic governance solution.

Madam Palmer said those gaps provided an opportunity for violent extremists or other outside actors to manipulate tensions to their advantage.

“We need to work together to close these gaps so that they are not exploited,” she said.

He said Exercise Flintlock was a perfect example of African partners creating African solutions enabled by international partnerships to counter instability emanating from the Sahel.

Madam Palmer said the successful completion of Flintlock 2023, and Ghana’s decision to host the 2024 edition, was a good sign of the parties standing for shared principles and common values.

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