ECOWAS needs support to flush out terrorists — President Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed confidence that terrorists can be chased out of West Africa and the Sahel Region with the right amount of support to ECOWAS.
In that regard, he said West African troops could do the job without the involvement of foreign troops, and cited “The Accra Initiative” as “a good example of indigenous self-help”.
President Akufo-Addo, who was speaking on “Democracy and Security in West Africa” at the United States Institute of Peace’s Programme on Governance and Peace in Washington DC yesterday, called on leaders of the global community to activate the provisions of chapters seven and eight of the UN Charter in order to provide proportionate support to Africa’s fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
President Akufo-Addo said despite the considerable economic difficulties confronting ECOWAS Member States, the four military-led States, having been suspended, had made clear their willingness to take the fight to the terrorists if they were sufficiently empowered.
“Comparisons, they say, are odious, but some cannot be ignored. The Russian war on Ukraine has elicited, according to my information, some US$73.6 billion in American support for Ukraine, US$138.8 billion from the European Union (EU) and its institutions, and US$14.5 billion from the United Kingdom (UK),” he said.
On the other hand, the President said, the security assistance from the US, the EU and the UK to ECOWAS had in the same period amounted to US$29.6 million.
Citing rising levels of displacement of populations in many parts of the Sahel as a result of the insecurity engendered by the armed groups, President Akufo-Addo said: “Africa had become the centre of attraction for terrorist groups which are multiplying in the region following defeats suffered in other parts of the world”.
He said the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on developing countries had unfortunately “left many countries and regional bodies, particularly in the Sahel, in very dire economic situations”.
The situation, he said, had compounded the challenges faced by countries on the continent in the mobilisation of resources to fight terrorists in their backyards.
“The focus on this and the challenge against democracy across the region is because we have, virtually, run out of time to work together in the spirit of multilateralism.
“If we do not renew our commitments to build, keep and consolidate peace and democracy all over the world, we would have to brace ourselves to live in a new and more dangerous world today and in the future,” President Akufo-Addo emphasised.
Explaining the emergence of terrorists in West Africa, the President said “the terrorists were chased out of the Middle East and Afghanistan before taking refuge in Libya, from where they fled across the Sahara to find refuge in northern Mali after Gaddafi’s downfall.
He said the terrorists had since then spread their pernicious influence eastwards and southwards, with the coastal states of West Africa being their ultimate destination.