For a problem that started in Mali, and then spread to Burkina Faso and now to Niger, the presidents of the zone understood that a change of attitude was needed with regard to the threat. For the presidents of Ghana, Togo, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire, there is no longer a question of wasting time because the terrorism threatening the Sahel is already close to their borders. If this concern has long remained a dead letter, without any real practical action to appeal to the solidarity of coastal countries, the situation today tends to lead to an alternative with the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) who plan to mobilize troops to strengthen the security of priority areas such as the three borders.
The projection of the establishment of joint operations
The observed weaknesses of the G5 military force, two years after its creation, have given way to a delicate security situation in the region. The few unconvincing and unimportant operations on the ground have almost resulted in the same results. Apart from this situation being the results of bad tactical organization on the ground, it also due to pledged donations that have not been honoured. No longer able to cling only to the statements of the international community; who obviously does not care much about the situation, the UEMOA countries have understood that it is their priority to play their part to try to counter the successive attacks of jihadists which are more and more recurrent in the region. With the plans of mobilization of the troops on the ground which is in preparation, the UEMOA intends then to give a boost to the forces already present on the ground.
Listed as an urgent operation on the UEMOA calendar, given the threat and recent attacks in the region, the situation has prompted military leaders in the region to consider a strategic meeting in November, to plan the sending of troops to Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, in late 2019 or early 2020, to fight against jihadist groups. For the Ivorian Minister of Defense, Hamed Bakayoko, who announced the news, this meeting of 11 November will allow the various military leaders invited to set up joint operations involving Senegalese, Ivorian and other battalions in Malian theatres, Burkina Faso and others. If the determination of the zones for the conduct of the joint manoeuvres still remains to be discussed, that of the three borders namely Mali-Burkina-Niger is already the object of a certain interest since it is the most threatened.
The solidarity presence that will be deployed in the area will aim at occupying and reducing the space of terrorists and allowing the armies of three countries, which are in the grip of daily attacks, take a little break. Finally, Mr Hamed Bakayoko held a report on the International Academy for the Fight against Terrorism (AILCT) in Abidjan, which could have a big role to play in this fight.
A projection from the promises of the ECOWAS Summit
On the side-lines of the last Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summit in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, under the theme “Desert to Power” which took place on September 14, 2019, the heads of state, who had looked into the future of the Sahel G5 had promised to find solutions to help the fight against terrorism. To join the cause, these heads of state had promised greater solidarity between the directly affected countries and the coastal countries. For the Ivorian Ministry of Defence, who did not specify the location of the meeting of 11 November, “these operations are clearly in the wake of the summit of the ECOWAS countries which have played a great role to influence the holding of this meeting”.
For the latter who welcomes the initiative of the recommendations of the different heads of state of the sub-region, if the ECOWAS countries do not all integrate, if there is not a real synergy of action between them, the jihadists will always be a step ahead on the ground. It is then necessary to observe a progression in the fight as the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude-Brou who at the time of this Summit warned against the rise of the threat and launched a joint call for the contribution of a global answer.
Article from AFRIC Editorial
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