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Buhari, Other West African Leaders To Create Regional Force To Challenge Terrorism, Coups

December 5, 2022

The leaders on Sunday agreed to create a regional force to intervene against jihadism and in the event of coups.

West African leaders plan to create a regional peacekeeping force in light of recent military coups.

The leaders on Sunday agreed to create a regional force to intervene against jihadism and in the event of coups.

The biggest economy in the region is Nigeria, which is led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The President of the ECOWAS commission, Omar Alieu Touray, who stated this while speaking to journalists at a summit in Nigeria said that leaders of the Economic Community of West African States had decided to act to "take care of our own security in the region."

This comes after at least three nations Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso witnessed military coups in the last two years and were also suspended from the ECOWAS’ decision-making bodies, Reuters reports.

However, no specific details were given as the workings of the regional force will be set by the defence ministers of the member nations who will convene in the second half of next year, said the ECOWAS president.

He added that they are determined to create a regional force which would intervene if required in the areas of security, terrorism and restore the constitutional order in member countries.

The West African nations’ leaders also expressed concern about the 46 Ivorian soldiers who have been detained in Mali and have asked the Malian authorities to release them by the end of this month. If they fail to do so, ECOWAS will impose sanctions, a West African diplomat told AFP.

The troops were detained earlier this year, following their arrival at the airport in Mali’s capital, Bamako. Ivory Coast has previously said that those troops were sent as a backup for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country and has since criticised their detention.

The West African leaders have also said that they are observing the nations’ progress on restoring constitutional order and about Mali “it is essential that constitutional order returns within the planned time frame,” said Touray.

Meanwhile, the ECOWAS said that military leadership in Guinea should engage in dialogue with the politicians and parties in the country and work towards restoring civilian rule.

Furthermore, referring to Burkina Faso, Touray said that the leaders have expressed “serious concerns” about the ongoing humanitarian crisis following the military coup in October but also pledged support for the country.