Terrorists have killed no fewer than 14,500 people in the West African region in four and a half years, the Economic Community of West African States has said.
Outgoing President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, who disclosed this, said insecurity in the region had also displaced 5.5 million people.
Brou, who has been appointed Governor of the West African Bank, spoke in Abuja, on Wednesday, while handing over to the new management of the Commission led by President Omar Touray.
According to him, “First of all, the deterioration of the security situation has caused havoc not only in the Sahel area, affecting Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and the North- East of Nigeria, but it soon expanded to the coastal zone, hitting Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and Togo.
“Terrorist attacks and herds of bandits plunged these countries into mourning, with close to 14,500 dead in four and a half years, threatening the peace of rural population, and forcing people to seek shelter away from their home areas.
“Thus, the number of refugees and internally displaced people in our region reached about 5.5m persons who are in need of humanitarian assistance.”
He added that the ECOWAS Commission had reached out to provide assistance to many of them and the victims of natural disasters.
Brou stated that a regional action plan to combat terrorism in the region had been followed, adding that it required sustained commitment, including financial support from member states for it to yield expected results.
“Regional action plan to combat terrorism in West Africa has been elaborated and is being implemented. It will necessitate sustained commitment, including financial support from member states to produce the expected results in the medium to long term,” he said.