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West Africa Partners With European Union Against Sahel Jihadists

Leaders from West Africa and Europe met on Tuesday to discuss ways to stop the Sahelian terrorist insurgency from spreading to nations along the Gulf of Guinea.

Coastal nations Burkina Faso and Niger to the north of them, as well as Ghana, Benin, Togo, and the Ivory Coast, are increasingly becoming targets of attacks and threats from jihadist terrorists.

The summit is taking place in Accra, the capital of Ghana, as more Western countries pull their peacekeepers out of Mali after the country’s military junta increased its relations with Russia.

Heads of state from the Gulf of Guinea, Niger, and Burkina Faso are meeting with delegates from ECOWAS, the EU, Britain, and France as part of the so-called Accra Initiative.

According to Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, Ghana’s government spokesman on governance and security, “this is essentially enhancing our efforts to be able to combat against terrorism and terror-related activities.”

The Sahel crisis started in northern Mali in 2012, moved to Burkina Faso and Niger in 2015, and is currently sporadic attacks on governments on the Gulf of Guinea.

Ghana has increased border security and so far hasn’t been the target of any attacks across international borders.

However, threats have come from Burkina Faso through the northern borders of Benin and Togo in particular.

Since November 2021, Benin has documented 20 intrusions, whilst Togo has had at least five assaults, including two fatal ones.

As a barrier against the spread of violence, French and foreign peacekeeping forces had been working in Mali for almost ten years.

However, following two coups in Mali, the military junta expanded its coordination with Moscow and permitted the entry of what Western nations refer to as Russian mercenaries.

In response, France’s Barkhane anti-jihadist mission withdrew its troops. Britain and Germany announced last week that they would likewise stop participating in peacekeeping missions.

James Heappey, the minister of the British armed forces, stated last week that the country would “rebalance” its deployment, but he did not specify how.

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