October 27, 1:00 pm

University of Nairobi Towers , LT 405



University of Nairobi Towers , LT 405

                                                                              CONCEPT NOTE

  1. Background:

Terrorism and separatism are not a new phenomena. The link between these two concepts has evolved from a focus on a few national-level cases to a more global problem. The evolving relationship between terrorism and separatism has the potential to significantly challenge global security, as some separatist movements are linked to terrorist activities and movements, while some terrorist movements link their activities to separatist ideologies. The concept of terrorism and separatism which was traditionally seen as two separate issues are today overlapping and coexisting.

Terrorists' and separatists’ activities frequently reinforce each other. It is worth noting that terrorists participate either directly or indirectly in illegal activities such as smuggling, trafficking, kidnapping, and extortion, for financial and/or material benefits. These activities undermine state stability, security, and socio-economic development, which in turn create and maintain the conditions for separatist groups to flourish. On the other hand, separatist groups employ terrorist tactics, including the strategic use of violence, to achieve their goals. These specific situations are among the key reasons for terrorists’ and separatists’ convergence, leading them to cooperate and unite. 

A common pattern in separatist movements has been the reluctance of their members to openly admit their link to terrorist organizations. Separatist movements claim their legitimacy from their political quest for independence. They are thus not willing to reveal their interest in using terror-based strategies to achieve their agenda. These movements have on some occasions been used to destabilize states through the assistance of foreign nations who seek to destabilize and dominate the geopolitical landscape of a region. The link between separatism and terrorism has been seen in cases such as the Polisario Front where part of their leadership has been linked to ISIS through the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). Adnane Abou Walid al-Sahraoui, a man who had initially begun his career as a leader in the Polisario Front was in August 2021 killed in Mali through a French operation due to his active participation in terror activities in the Sahel region. Today the world is witnessing the emergence of similar separatist movements which have links with terrorist groups these include; Polisario and PKK, revolutionary terrorists (Red Brigades, RAF, FARC), religious terrorist groups (Laskar Jihad, Boko Haram, ISIS), and transnational terrorist groups (JNIM, Al-Qaida).

Although the world is witnessing greater international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the question of the separatist movement and its link to terror organizations is yet to be fully appreciated.  A critical review and analysis of this link is needed to better understand the risks that can be associated with these separatist movements. This seminar is a platform to discuss and contribute to this debate by looking into (i) where separatism and terrorism converge, (ii) where monitoring and preventive action are possible, and (iii) where situation-specific approaches are required.

II. Seminar Objectives:

  1. Provide an overview of terrorist and separatist groups in different geographical contexts;
  2. Examine the nexus between separatism and terrorism in various contexts (Africa, Europe, Asia, etc.);
  3. Analyze the political, structural, situational factors and determinants that drive separatists and terrorists to cooperate in destabilizing states and serve external agendas;
  4. Analyze the illicit financing channels that these groups typically use to achieve their goals;
  5. Raise awareness of this nexus and propose long-term solutions aiming at weakening and eradicating the relationship between these two groups; and
  6. Provide a platform for expertise and experience exchange on the measures taken by states and governments against these two phenomena.

III. Modalities of the Seminar:

This one-day seminar is organized jointly by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Kenya and the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Kenya.

The Seminar will be held in 5 sessions:

  • 1st session under the theme: How separatists and terrorists have instrumentalized the ideals of self-determination?
  • 2nd session under the theme: Nexus between terrorism and separatism: Genesis and an overview of the current situation.
  • 3rd session under the theme: What are the financial channels chosen by terrorists and separatists to fund their operations that aim to destabilize States?
  • 4th session under the theme Factors stimulating the strengthening of the nexus between terrorism and separatism.
  • 5th session under the theme Evolution of the terrorist phenomenon and its ability to feed separatism.
  1. The Seminar will be held in English.
  2. Location: University of Nairobi, LT 405
  3. Date: Thursday, October 27, 2022.
  4. Time: 1:30 pm- 5:00pm


IV. Seminar Participants:

  • Senior Officials and Diplomats.
  • Experts, Researchers, and Professors.  
  • Journalists.

V. Target audience:

  • Government and Senior Officials.
  • Diplomatic corps accredited in Nairobi.
  • Academia, researchers, and civil society.