ECOWAS Points to Coups as a Factor Fueling Insecurity in West Africa

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed concern over the impact of the military coups in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger on the security situation in the region. The ECOWAS Commission President, Omar Touray, stated this at the opening of the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council at Ministerial Level in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said that the political transitions in the three countries, which experienced coups d’etat in 2021 and 2022, have been facing challenges and delays amid deteriorating security conditions. He added that the military coups are based on “fake narrative and false justifications” and that they are “a driver of insecurity in the region.”

He cited the alarming statistics of the humanitarian crisis and the terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, which have affected millions of people in terms of food insecurity, displacement, education and casualties. He said that Burkina Faso has the highest number of food-insecure people, with close to 2.2 million, followed by Niger with 1.9 million and Mali with about 800 000. He also said that from January to November 30, 2023, the number of terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso was 1,256; in Mali, 1,032 and in Niger 391. The figures in terms of casualties were 4,788 in Burkina Faso; 2,174 in Mali and 606 in Niger.

He urged the transition authorities in the three countries to respect the agreed timelines and roadmaps for the restoration of constitutional order and to ensure the participation of all stakeholders in the process. He also called for the strengthening of the regional security cooperation and the implementation of the ECOWAS Action Plan to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism.

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