West African coastal states are holding talks on boosting military cooperation against jihadist violence spilling over from the Sahel. This follows recent announcements that several international peacekeeping contingents are being withdrawn from Mali.
Benin, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo are confronting increased risks from Islamic State jihadists and Al Qaeda militants waging war over their northern borders in the Sahel.
As part of the so-called Accra Initiative, representatives of coastal states on the Gulf of Guinea, the European Union and others met in the Ghanaian capital on Thursday for talks on security and intelligence cooperation.
Ghana’s National Security Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah said collaboration was needed as the threat from extremism is “more widespread than previously thought and transcending borders.”
In the first quarter of 2022, Africa recorded 346 attacks, almost half of which were in the west of the continent.
Launched in 2017, the Accra Initiative includes Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire. Burkina Faso. Mali and Niger have joined since.
The Accra meeting – due to continue into next week – will also involve representatives from the EU and British government and the 15-member West African bloc ECOWAS.
Also, a summit with regional heads of state is planned for 22 November, where leaders will discuss the security proposals.