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West African Community to Hold Forum on Anti-Terrorism

  • Peter Clottey

Heads of state and members of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) pose for a photograph after attending the 39th ECOWAS Summit in Nigeria's capital Abuja March 23, 2011.

Heads of state and members of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) pose for a photograph after attending the 39th ECOWAS Summit in Nigeria's capital Abuja March 23, 2011.

U.N. anti-terrorism experts will address a forum next week sponsored by the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS] in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, according to a leading member of the organization.

Sonny Ugoh, communications director of the sub-regional body, says the forum will better equip ECOWAS to address the challenges of terrorism following the death of Osama Bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group al Qaeda.

He said the forum will help ECOWAS establish a mechanism to help coordinate its anti-terrorism efforts and harmonize policies.

“Increasingly,” he said, “[terrorism] is a concern that we will have to [consider] along with other issues because these things never have borders. And it is important that we should be ready to deal with it whenever it happens.”

He says there have been reports of growing terrorist activities in some West African countries, including Nigeria, Niger and Mali.

“It is becoming necessary for us to have the capacity in house, at the level of the commission [governing body] to be able to begin to work with member states to see how we can prevent some of these [threats], and when it does happen, how we can work together to address it,” said Ugoh.

Ugoh said ECOWAS must be prepared to deal with terrorism in West Africa.

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