Stakeholders To Set New Date For ECOWAS-ECCAS Summit On Boko Haram

ECOWASNigeria will hold further consultations with other stakeholders to agree on a new date for the ECOWAS-ECCAS security summit on Boko Haram, President, Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday.

The meeting was earlier scheduled to hold in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on April 8, 2015, but it was postponed because of Nigeria’s general elections held on March 28 and April 11.

A statement by a spokesman for President Buhari, Femi Adesina, said the Nigerian leader gave the hint about the planned meeting with stakeholders for a new date at a meeting with the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kadre Desire Ouedraogo.

Victory Over Terrorism

President Buhari welcomed efforts to strengthen and expand cooperation between ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on the war against terrorism.

He reiterated his view that greater regional and international cooperation was needed to ensure victory over terrorism in Nigeria and other countries.

The President also assured Mr Ouedraogo that Nigeria would continue to fulfill its financial obligations to ECOWAS to enhance the regional body’s ability to attain its objective of regional integration and development.

President Buhari commended the ECOWAS Commission and other ECOWAS institutions for progress made on the Biometric Identity Card system, which would come into force in 2016.

He said that its introduction would be a major milestone to full regional integration and the free movement of ECOWAS citizens within the sub-region.

Wave Of Terror

There have been wave of terror in the Central and West African region, occasioned by inter-religious crisis in the Central region and the Boko Haram terrorist group in the west.

Close to two million persons have been displaced in Nigeria’s north-east, the stronghold of the terrorist group.

At an African Union summit in South Africa weeks ago, the Nigerian President stressed the need for more collaboration between countries bordering the oil-rich nation in West, which have eaully recorded cases of terror attacks. He said the collaboration would strengthen the fight against the terrorist group to end their activities in the region.

France To Increase Forces In Central Africa With UN Backing

France will increase its force in Central African Republic to at least on 1,000 soldiers after a U.N. resolution expected next week, French officials said on Tuesday, warning of the risk of regional instability.

The nation of 4.6 million people has descended into violence and chaos since rebels, many from neighbouring Chad and Sudan, ousted President Francois Bozize in March.

CAR’s Prime Minister, Nicolas Tiangaye, said on Monday Fabius told him France aimed to boost its number of soldiers in the country by 800 from about 400.

“We are going to reinforce our presence,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Culture radio. “We are waiting for a United Nations resolution that should come next week.”

“Until now, only Central Africans were threatened, but if the (power) vacuum and implosion sets in, it will threaten all countries in the region: Chad, Sudan, Congo and Cameroon.”

Asked about the figure of 800 additional troops, Fabius said the number “makes sense”, but did not elaborate further.

Separately, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Europe 1 radio France would support a planned African-led force with “around one thousand” troops. He did not specify whether that was the size of the reinforcement or the total number.

He said the mission was likely to last about six months depending on the timetable set by the United Nations. He dismissed comparisons with France’s intervention Mali, where Paris deployed 4,000 troops in January to keep Islamist militants from taking the capital Bamako.

French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said at the United Nations that the French troops in CAR would restore law and order until an African Union force of 3,600 troops – known as MISCA – was fully operational.

In addition to the French troops in the country, there is a 2,500-strong regional force deployed by the Economic Community of Central African States. The African Union is due to take charge of that force in December and boost its size.

The violence in the mineral-rich  country has increasingly pitted the mainly Muslim fighters of the Seleka rebels against Christian militias. Christians make up half the population and Muslims 15 percent.