July 20, 2024
ECOWAS proposes "standby force" to combat terrorism

ECOWAS proposes "standby force" to combat terrorism

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has revived discussions on its “standby force” project, now primarily aimed at combating terrorism. Details have emerged from a recent meeting of defense and finance ministers from member countries held last week in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

According to Mohamed Badaru Abubakar, Nigeria’s Defense Minister, the revised regional “standby force” could take two configurations.

One proposal suggests a force of 5,000 personnel, requiring an annual budget of $2.6 billion.

The alternative option involves a smaller force of 1,500 soldiers, necessitating an annual budget of approximately $500 million.

Nigeria, whose president currently holds the chairmanship of ECOWAS, emphasized that the primary mandate of the standby force will now focus on combating terrorism, rather than intervening in coups to overthrow regimes.

Despite recent political tensions, countries like Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, whose military leaders have withdrawn from ECOWAS, are encouraged to participate in this initiative.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission defended this decision, stating, “Even though some countries are under sanctions, they should be allowed to participate in security-related meetings.”

However, during the recent session, the seats allocated to these three countries remained vacant as they did not respond to the invitation.

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