The Center Can Hold: Towards a Regional Approach to Combating West Africa’s Terrorists
This brief, examines challenges and prospects of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Implementation Plan. This resulted in the ECOWAS Counterterrorism Strategy and Implementation Plan. In this brief it was argued that terrorism in West Africa poses a potential regional security predicament. Many factors such as weak states, porous borders, availability of small arms and light weapons(SALW), relatively free movement of persons and goods, the youth bulge, and the growing networks of transnational criminals make terrorism a regional concern that requires holistic regional responses. This especially holds true for West Africa as most countries do not have sufficient human capacity, resources, legal frameworks and technology to fight terrorism. For instance, several factors such as security sector corruption, mismanagement and lack of resources have constrained the Nigerian security force’s response to the Boko Haram threat over the years. However, a recent military offensive by Nigerian, Cameroonian and Chadian forces in the run-up to Nigeria’s elections in 2015 led to major setbacks for the terrorist group, pushing it out of some strongholds. While sporadic attacks still occur, this development clearly shows that with the appropriate strategies, political will and resources, terrorism can be contained. This brief, therefore, examines prospects and challenges of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Implementation Plan Political Declaration and Common Position against Terrorism. This resulted in the ECOWAS Counter terrorism Strategy and Implementation Plan.