The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has said that it is working to establish a counter-terrorism force to tackle security threats within the sub-region.

ECOWAS’ Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Amb. Abdel-Fatau Musah made this statement at the opening of a three-day consultative meeting of the commandants of the three designated ECOWAS Training Centres of Excellence.

The three centres of excellence are the National Defence College, Nigeria; the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana; and Ecole de Maintien de la Paix Alioune Blondin Beye, Mali.

DAILY POST reports that the consultative engagement is a bi-annual event coordinated by the Directorate of Peacekeeping and Regional Security of ECOWAS to support training, capacity building, research and development of the ECOWAS Standby Force, and general peace and security within the sub-region.

Musah said that terrorism was cascading across the region and that there was a need to have counter-terrorism forces to contain its spread.

“This is the decision, and in the coming weeks, ECOWAS has already, with the Chief of Defence Staffs, developed operational modalities, the concept of operations and everything else for us to aggregate.

“It will be something like an advanced rapid reaction force of a battalion that will be able to confront terrorists’ bases,” he said.

He pointed out that, as part of the resolution of the authority of heads of state, $2.4 billion would be raised to fund the ECOWAS standby force to tackle the security challenges headlong.

“The Heads of States have decided that in the first year, we must raise about $2.4 billion to support the operation of this force in order to face the terrorists,” he added.

Musah said that out of the amount, the heads of state have directed member states to contribute one billion dollars to commence the operation of the standby force.

He also explained that ministers of defence and finance from the sub-region would be meeting to fashion out funding modalities for the force.

Terrorism: ECOWAS to raise $2.4bn to fund counter-terrorism standby force

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