In Benin, the Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday 16 March 2022 authorised the holding of two regional conclaves on Beninese soil. This is the 16th meeting of heads of intelligence and security services coupled with the 8th meeting of ministers responsible for security of the member countries of the Accra initiative. Two important meetings that will focus on the fight against terrorism.
Completely eradicating jihadism from the sub-region is a major challenge for African countries. Thus, the 16th meeting of heads of intelligence and security services will be held in Cotonou from 23 to 25 March 2022, coupled with the 8th meeting of ministers responsible for security of member countries of the “Accra initiative”. These meetings will bring together senior security officials from countries in the West African sub-region. The countries expected to participate are : Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. It should therefore be noted that the countries invited to the said meeting are all members of the “Accra initiative” launched in September 2017.
The initiation of this meeting is part of the fight against the incredible rise in terrorist attacks in countries such as Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Benin. According to the Institute of Economics and Peace (EIP) 2022 report, Terrorism Index 2022, all three countries have worrying scores. This reflects the urgency of the issue.
Individual measures have already been taken by the governments of the countries at risk to stop the phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is said that there is strength in numbers, and this meeting will bring together common strategies for an effective fight against this disease.
“What is ” Accra Initiative “?
” Accra Initiative is a cooperative and collaborative security mechanism based on three pillars: information and intelligence sharing, training of security and intelligence staff and the conduct of joint cross-border military operations. “In terms of coordination, each quarter the meeting of security ministers is presided over by a technical meeting of officials in charge of security and intelligence,” notes the website of the Institute for Security Studies (ISSA). An initiative that undoubtedly adds to the fight against terrorism.
Terrorism, an evil that plagues the sub-region
Even if Ghana is so far free of any risk, it is important to remember that “prevention is better than cure”. Thus, by mutual agreement, these initiating countries will be able to share experiences and emerge better equipped for the fight. Needless to say, these main countries in the sub-region are permanent targets of Islamist groups. In Benin and Burkina, the situation has become increasingly worrying since the end of 2021, when many soldiers were killed on the border shared by the two countries in northern Benin. It is hoped that these two meetings will provide effective strategies for fighting terrorism in West Africa once and for all.