The Economic Community of West African States says no fewer than 14,500 people have been killed by terrorists in the West African region in four and a half years.
According to the outgoing President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, the insecurity in the region has also displaced 5.5 million people.
Brou, who will assume the position of the Governor of the West African Bank, spoke in Abuja, on Wednesday, during the handover of power to the new management of the Commission led by President Omar Touray.
He said, “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.”
The commission, he said, has reached out to provide assistance to many of them, as well as to victims of natural disasters.
He noted that a regional action plan to combat terrorism in the region has been followed.
Brou said the plan 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 explained.