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ECOWAS defense chiefs review Guinea-Bissau mission

The Committee of Chief of Defense Staff (CCDS) of the ECOWAS Region meets in Abuja, Nigeria, on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, to hold an Extra-Ordinary Session on ECOWAS intervention in Guinee-Bissau. This is with a view to ensure lasting and sustainable peace in the Member State. The meeting is coming as the extended mandate of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinee-Bissau (ECOMIB) comes to an end and the need to have a comprehensive exit strategy, that will ensure the people of Guinee-Bissau continue to enjoy the peace and stability that has now been restored in that Country.

While speaking during the opening ceremony, the representative of Nigeria’s Minister of Defense, who is the Chief of Defense Staff of Nigeria, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, commended the troops deployed on this mission, for their effective performance and tremendous sacrifices, which help in bringing peace and stability to Guinee-Bissau.

He said the mission would have ended before now, but realities on ground necessitated the extension of the mission by the Heads of States of the Region. It is now heartwarming to note that the ability of the troops, political leaders and other stakeholders to bring about peace in the country meant that there is need to have a comprehensive exit strategy that will not jeopardize the peace is presently being enjoyed by the people of Guinee-Bissau.

General Olonisakin added that Nigeria will continue to play its leading role in ensuring that security challenges within the region are collectively tackled, so that citizens will continue to enjoy peaceful coexistence, without any fear of being attacked due to civil strife, terrorism and other forms of crises that put the civilian population in danger. He thanked the troops for their support and sacrifices to the region and also appreciates the Chiefs of Defense Staff of all the Troops Contributing Countries (TCCs) for their leadership and solidarity.


In his remarks, the Chairman of the CCDS and Chief of Defense Staff of Senegal, General Mamadou Sow, thanked his colleagues and the troop contributing countries for their efforts to ensure peace and stability in Guinee-Bissau. He said this extra-ordinary meeting will allow the committee to further assess the situation in Guinee-Bissau with a view to formulating an appropriate exit strategy four years after the initial deployment of military contingents and police components to the mission in Guinee-Bissau.

General Sow added that while considering the situation in that country, the CCDS is not unmindful of the precarious security situation in the region as well as the recent terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. He added that his Committee will come up with a common strategy for the various member states to fight against terrorism and reflect on future actions that will be carried out by the ECOWAS Standby Force in order to fight against terrorist attacks. The strategy will also focus on information exchange and experience sharing to combat these threats that are so traumatic for the people of the region.

Also speaking the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, stated that the convening of this extra-ordinary meeting underscores the importance attached to peace and security in the region, which he said is fundamental to economic development and social well-being of the citizens. He expressed appreciation and gratitude to the government and people of the troop contributing countries, as well as the various military and police contingents in ECOMIB, for their sacrifices since the commencement of the mission in 2012. These sacrifices have contributed immensely in ensuring peaceful elections, return to constitutional order, security sector reform process, security of state institutions and stabilization of Guinee-Bissau. All these achievements and the continuous renewal of the mandate of ECOMIB came with tremendous financial and human resource strain on both the various Member States and the Commission, he added.

The President stated that despite the adoption by the United Nations Security Council on February 18, 2015, resolution S / RES / 2203 (2015) acknowledging the important role played by ECOMIB in the stabilization of Guinea Bissau and encouraging the international community to provide support, ECOMIB still remains exclusively funded by ECOWAS. He pointed that the Commission and the member states will continue to work towards successful conclusion of the mission in Guinee-Bissau, despite the very difficult situation.

Highlight of the event featured presentation of plaques to the troop contributing countries of ECOMIB, which are Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo, Senegal, and Burkina Faso as well as the Police contingent from Nigeria. Also recognized was the Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman and the Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission President (SRCC) to Guinee Bissau, Amb. Ansumana Ceesay.

It would be recalled that the ECOWAS Mission in Guinee-Bissau was inaugurated in 2012 with over 600 military and police contingent. It was set up with the aim of stabilizing that country, which was undergoing political turmoil at the time. This intervention by ECOWAS has now brought about peace and stability in Guinee-Bissau.

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