LAGOS, Nigeria –The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has pledged to mobilize one billion U.S. dollars to deal with the escalation of terrorism in the sub-region.
The commitment was made during the West African regional bloc special summit on Saturday in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
“The conference adopted a plan of action and a one billion U.S. dollars resource mobilization initiative to fight against terrorism,” Mahamadou Issoufou, the president of Niger who is also the acting president of the ECOWAS conference of heads of state and government, said.
“We must set as political objectives the preservation of the territorial integrity of our States, of republican democratic institutions, the protection of all citizens as well as of their assets,” Issoufou also said.
ECOWAS sources say the regional bloc will use the funds to equip national defense and multinational forces, and to strengthen intelligence services in the region, as terrorism scaled up in the G5 Sahel countries (Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad, Mali).
The Ouagadougou Summit brought together heads of states of ECOWAS nations, which included the Presidents of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Liberia, Senegal, Togo.
The special summit also invited the governments of Mauritania, Chad, and Cameroon, countries that are hard hit by jihadist attacks in the west and central Africa.
Jean-Claude Brou, chairman of the ECOWAS Commission, said the Commission had registered about 2,200 terrorist attacks in the sub-region over the last four years, causing the death of 11,500 people and the displacement of millions of people.