The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said on Saturday that terrorist attacks increased by 80 percent in the West African region in 2019 compared to last year.
Brou disclosed this at the 56th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government at the Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, in the first 11 months of 2019, more than 1,800 civilian and military officers were killed while about 2.8 million people were displaced.
He said: “In the first 11 months of 2019, terrorist attacks increased almost by 80 percent compared to the same period in 2018 and cause more than 1,800 civilian and military casualties.
“This situation has led to a humanitarian crisis with the displacement of nearly 2.8 million people and the closure of hundreds of schools.
“According to the resolutions of the Ouagadougou Summit, we have decided to use domestic funding for the counter-terrorism effort.
To that end, I would like to welcome the decision of the UEMOA Summit to disburse an initial amount of $100 million to support this effort.
“At the political level, our region continues to make progress concerning deepening democracy.
In this regard, I am pleased to mention that the clarity of your decisions and your dedication in implementing them, made it possible to organize the first round of the presidential election in Guinea-Bissau, following the adopted road map.
“We will continue to support this sister nation, for the peaceful conduct of the run-off election, to culminate incredible results.
The success we will thus achieve will encourage us to look to the future, with even greater confidence and optimism in terms of entrenching democracy in our region.
‘It is expected that six presidential elections will be held in our Community in 2020. In line with the tradition, the Commission will provide support to the relevant Member States, in their efforts to organize the polls, to contribute to consolidating and sustaining our democratic achievements.”
In his welcome address, President Muhammadu Buhari said that terrorism has remained the major threat to the peace and progress of the West African region.
He said: “It is always gratifying when our regional Bloc comes together in the determination to advance our agenda for regional integration and promote the socio-economic development of our sub-region.
“Terrorism remains a major threat to the peace and progress of our region. Recurring attempts by terrorist groups remind us of the urgency to build an enduring security partnership to confront and defeat the evil of cross-border terrorism.”
“It was with great shock and immense pain that I received the news of the tragedy last week in Agando, western Tahoua region of Niger Republic, where over 33 gallant soldiers and other citizens of the country were brutally massacred in yet another cowardly terrorist attack by these enemies of peace and progress.
Nwada Ugochinyere Onyechere reporting Obinwannem News