ECOWAS leaders pledge $1 billion to fight Islamist threat (photos)

ECOWAS leaders have pledged $1 billion to combat the spiraling threat of Islamist militancy in the region.

ECOWAS President Mahamadou Issoufou said the money would finance the joint forces and intelligence gathering.

This would help counter the rising violence and also fight jihadists, whose actions have led to three million people being displaced and a 60% increase this year in the number of people facing food insecurity.

The ECOWAS commission also called on the the United Nations to strengthen its MINUSMA peacekeeping mission, which has been based in Mali since 2013.

The fifteen members of the West African bloc and the presidents of Mauritania and Chad had gathered for an extraordinary summit in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, to address the growing insecurity.

Earlier at the summit, Nigeria’s President Buhari had raised the alarm over the ease with which terrorist groups in Africa got access to funds and acquired sophisticated weapons.

He had reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to eradicating the activities of Boko Haram terrorist.

He said terrorists’ activities could be curbed through coordinated regional actions and responses against terrorism, insurgency and inter-communal disputes.

He also suggested putting in place policies and measures that would address their root causes including the re-establishment and protection of livelihoods.

(From L) Presidents Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, Idriss Deby of Chad, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso, Faure Gnassigbe of Togo, Macky Sall of Senegal and Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria (R) pose after the opening ceremony of ECOWAS G5 security summit in Ouagadougou, on September 14, 2019. – West African leaders meet in the capital of Burkina Faso on September 14, 2019 for a summit expected to lead to an overhaul of the flailing attempt to roll back jihadism in the Sahel region. Most of the heads of ECOWAS, a grouping of 15 countries on West Africa’s coast and hinterland, are expected to attend the special one-day meeting, which will also be attended by Chad, Cameroon and Mauritania.. (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP)

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