An African summit takes a decision to confront the coups in the brown continent

The leaders of the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided on Sunday in Abuja to establish a regional force aimed at intervening in the event of coups like those that the region has witnessed in the past two years.

ECOWAS Commission President Omar Touray said the organization’s leaders are “determined to create a regional force that will intervene when necessary, whether it is a matter of security, terrorism or the restoration of constitutional order in member states.” Several countries in the region are witnessing the spread of armed organizations in northern and central Mali, as well as in Burkina Faso and Niger, and their presence is expanding towards the south and the Gulf of Guinea, and most of the armies of these countries have remained largely powerless and are cooperating with external parties to confront them.

In addition, insecurity is a major factor in the military coups that have rocked the region since 2020, in Mali and Burkina Faso and for other reasons in Guinea.

Turay said that military officials from the region will meet in the second half of next January to discuss mechanisms for forming the regional force. He added that the leaders of West African countries decided, for financing, not to rely solely on voluntary contributions, which showed their limitations, without giving further details.

During their summit, the leaders of West African countries also discussed the situation in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea. The three countries where the military has taken power by force since 2020. ECOWAS has been pressing for months for the return of civil rule as soon as possible in these countries, including two (Mali and Burkina Faso) that are suffering from serious unrest due to the widening movements of what it describes as “jihadists”.

The two countries were the scene of two coups in less than a year. In a related context, the leaders of “ECOWAS” or their representatives also gave the ruling military council in Mali until January 1 to release 46 soldiers from Ivory Coast who have been captured since last July, under penalty of sanctions.

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