West African leaders pledge $1 billion to combat the growing threat of Islamic extremism.
Mali-based insurgent groups with links to the Islamic State and al Qaeda have gained presence across the arid Sahel region this year, according to various reports, which is why West African leaders have pledged $1 billion to combat the spiraling threat of Islamist militancy in the region.
According to reporting from Reuters, the 15 members of the West African bloc and the presidents of Mauritania and Chad had gathered for an extraordinary summit in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ougadougou, to address the growing insecurity. ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou commented following the meeting that the commission had decided to “contribute financially and urgently to joint efforts in the fight against terrorism” by pledging $1 billion.
Kassi Brou also called on the United Nations to strengthen its MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) peacekeeping mission, which has been based in Mali since 2013.
In 2017, five countries – Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania – backed by France, launched the G5 Sahel taskforce to combat the insurgents. But the initiative has been perennially underfunded.