West African leaders have agreed to create a regional force to intervene against jihadism and in the event of coups.
Omar Alieu Touray, president of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission told journalists at a summit in Abuja, Nigeria that the leaders have decided to act to “take care of our own security in the region.”
They are “determined to establish a regional force that will intervene in the event of need, whether this is in the area of security, terrorism and restore constitutional order in member countries,” he added.
Touray said the decision would “restructure our security architecture.”
He said that defence chiefs will consider the modalities of the planned regional force in the second half of 2023.
The ECOWAS official said that funding of the force must also be decided, as such operation could not be solely dependent on voluntary contributions.
In the last two years, Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso have all been hit by military coups.
Many countries in the region are also suffering from the spread of jihadism, including Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, and southwards to the Gulf of Guinea.
National armies have been cooperating with external actors such as the UN, France and Russia in the fight a Jihadists.
Addressing another regional problem, the West African leaders told Mali’s ruling junta to release 46 Ivorian troops it has held since July.
“We ask the Malian authorities to release the Ivorian soldiers by January 1, 2023 at the latest,” said Touray, at the Abuja summit.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.