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President Julius Maada Bio urges ECOWAS to scale up the fight against terrorism in the region

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Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Saturday 14 September 2019 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has called on Presidents and Heads of State in the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to optimise their efforts in the fight against terrorism.

“First, I urge colleagues to support the ECOWAS Standby Force, a brigade-sized unit, as a coherent regional force that augments and complements the capacity of existing military forces in fighting and containing the spread of terrorism,” he said, adding that that force might also help in harmonising operational philosophies and procedures among the region’s armed forces.

He called on his colleagues in the 15-member regional political and economic union to speedily deploy equipment and pursue other capacity-building arrangements to bolster military forces in the region.

“I, therefore, urge Your Excellencies and the ECOWAS Commission to speedily operationalise and closely monitor the implementation of Phases 2 and 3 of the ECOWAS Standby Force Logistics Depot, which Sierra Leone is hosting at Lungi. Delaying the operationalisation of the logistics depot is a dangerous calculation,” he warned.

President Bio also reminded the Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Terrorism to view the sub-region as their neighbourhood and must, therefore, ensure that that neighbourhood was free of strife and the danger of terrorism.

“We must therefore quickly operationalise a coherent plan for collecting, processing, and sharing timely and actionable intelligence on terrorist activities and movements across the entire region. We must, therefore, invest resources into a comprehensive and effective strategy to achieve this.

“Thirdly, I urge the ECOWAS Commission to closely examine legal, policy, and institutional frameworks across the region that address the threat of terrorism. The region must tackle extremist violence, terrorism, transnational crime in an organised and harmonised manner,” he said.

He finally called on the summit to impress on civil society stakeholders that national development and resilience depended on security, adding that they must, therefore, map out clear and coherent ways in which civil society actors could help governments communicate with populations, build trust, defuse the triggers of conflict, support equitable and accountable governance that would create opportunity, and support peacebuilding.

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