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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid