News / Africa

Nigeria Bombing a ‘Dastardly Act,’ says ECOWAS spokesman

UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, right, gives a thumbs up symbol to an employee of the WHO injured in Friday's suicide attack on UN headquarters, as she visits victims of the blast in Abuja, Nigeria, August 28, 2011
UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, right, gives a thumbs up symbol to an employee of the WHO injured in Friday's suicide attack on UN headquarters, as she visits victims of the blast in Abuja, Nigeria, August 28, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, spokesman for ECOWAS

Peter Clottey

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is expressing concern about growing terrorism.

On Friday, a radical Nigerian Islamic group claimed responsibility for a car bombing that killed at least 18 people at the United Nations building in Abuja last Friday.

Sonny Ugoh, spokesman for ECOWAS, said the group is working with member countries and the U.N. to formulate a framework to combat terrorism. He described the bombing as a dastardly action.

“It is unacceptable, it is condemnable and it is not the best instrument to conduct dialogue with [the] government,” said Ugoh.

After the attack, a spokesman for the militant Islamic Boko Haram group telephoned a VOA correspondent in Nigeria, claiming his group carried out the bombing.  He also warned, “This is just the beginning.” He said the attack was in response to the military's increased presence in northeastern Borno state, where Boko Haram is active.

Boko Haram is blamed for scores of bombings in recent months, but Friday's attack marks a shift beyond domestic targets.

Terrorism

Last week, General Carter Ham, commander for the United States African Command (AFRICOM), said there are indications of Boko Haram contacts with al-Qaida.

His comments came after some experts expressed concern about terrorist activities in West Africa.

Critics say ECOWAS has done very little to combat the threat, and cite recent attacks in Mali, Niger and Nigeria as evidence of the failure.  Ugoh disagrees but sees in the examples a “worrying” trend.

“We are working to strengthen our mechanisms corresponding to these kinds of activities,” said Ugoh. “A couple of weeks ago, there was a meeting of civil society and the media to look at the instruments we are developing to…come [up] with [a solution] that would be sufficiently comprehensible to address …. terrorism.”

Combating terrorism

Experts and civil society groups have mounted campaigns to put more pressure on African institutions and regional organizations to come up with an appropriate response.

Ugoh said ECOWAS is working with the U.N. to combat terrorist activities.

“For us this is a new area, and the U.N. has of course more experience in this area. We are trying to work with the U.N. so that we can integrate the best practices to combat this challenge,” said Ugoh.

In May, ECOWAS organized a forum where UN anti-terrorism experts briefed its officials about ways to be better equip themselves against terrorism.  The forum, according to ECOWAS paved the way for a mechanism to help coordinate its anti-terrorism efforts and harmonize policies.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid