UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council warned late Friday of the “changing nature and character” of international terrorism, with terror groups increasingly coordinating with organized crime and resorting to kidnapping for ransom to finance their activities.
The council also expressed concern about the growing use of the internet and new communications technologies to recruit, incite, finance and prepare terrorist activities, according to a presidential statement approved by all 15 council members after an open meeting on fighting terrorism.
US Ambassador Susan Rice said the meeting was especially timely, coming a year after the death of Osama Bin Laden.
“His death was an important milestone in the fight against Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, but it did not remove the scourge of terrorism from our world,” she said. “Though Al-Qaeda has experienced major setbacks, its affiliates and other violent extremist groups continue to operate and pose significant threats.”
She said Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has expanded its reach in Yemen and is looking to launch attacks abroad, while Al-Shabab militants in Somalia continue to destabilize the Horn of Africa and militants from the Boko Haram perpetrate widespread attacks in Nigeria including against UN personnel.
Rice noted that some terrorist groups have become “criminal enterprises in their own right” like Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in northwest Africa which “has created an environment of fear and instability by adopting, kidnapping for ransom to finance its terrorist operations.” The Security Council statement warned of an increase in some parts of the world of “incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking by terrorist groups with the aim of raising funds or gaining political concessions.”
It noted “the changing nature and character of terrorism, with continuing terrorist attacks around the world” and expressed “concern regarding the increasing connection, in many cases, between terrorism and transnational organized crime.”
At the meeting, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said “terrorist organizations continue to look for new havens, adopt new tactics and seek new targets.” “Collective efforts have disrupted attacks and disabled terrorist networks,” he added. “But recent attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Yemen demonstrate that the threat is still formidable.” – AP