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West African leaders pledge $1 billion to Combat Islamist threat

Last updated on September 15, 2019

Groups with connections to al Qaeda and Islamic State have bolstered their foothold throughout the arid Sahel area this season, making big swathes of land ungovernable and stoking local ethnic violence, particularly in Mali and Burkina Faso.

The members of this West African bloc along with the presidents of both Mauritania and Chad had gathered for an extraordinary summit in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, to deal with the rising insecurity.

ECOWAS President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said the commission had determined to”donate financially and desperately to concerted efforts in the struggle against terrorism” by nearly $1 billion.

In a speech after the closed meeting, Brou also called on the United Nations to reinforce its MINUSMA peacekeeping assignment, which was based in Mali because of 2013.

In July, the U.N. said Islamist strikes were spreading so quickly in West Africa the area should think about strengthening its reaction outside present military efforts.

In 2017, five states — Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali, and Mauritania — supported by France, established the G5 Sahel taskforce to fight the insurgents. However, the initiative was perennially underfunded.

The problem in Burkina Faso has escalated specifically lately. An assault in late August murdered 24 soldiers, among the heaviest losses however in the country’s struggle against Islamist militants.

After a pocket of relative calm from the Sahel, Burkina has endured a homegrown insurgency for the last 3 decades, that was amplified using a spillover of jihadist violence and criminality from the disorderly neighbor Mali.

Huge swathes of Burkina’s north are out of control, and France’s army Sahel mission started limited operations there before this season.