ECOWAS Condemns Terrorist Attacks On Mali, Nigeria As region Seeks UN Intervention

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned the deplorable acts of violence and killing perpetrated by separatist and terrorist groups in Kidal and its adjoining towns in northern Mali.

In a communiqué issued Friday (May 30, 2014), the authorities also condemned the hostage-taking and seizing of administrative buildings in Kidal between May 17 and 21, 2014 and reaffirmed their determination to actively combat the threats posed by terrorism to regional and international peace and security.

The ECOWAS position was contained in a Final Communique of the end of the Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments held on May 30, 2014 in Accra, Ghana.

The Heads of State further expressed deep concern over the recent deterioration in the security situation in the Kidal region as well as over the bloody and recurrent attacks perpetrated particularly by the Boko Haram sect in parts of northern Nigeria.

The ECOWAS leaders said they believe that the assassination of defenseless civil servants in the performance of their duties constitutes a flagrant and deliberate violation of the Ouagadougou Agreement.

They expressed solidarity with Mali and Nigeria and requested that perpetrators of these atrocities be identified and punished according to the law.

The Heads of State a paid tribute to members of the Malian Defense and Security Forces as well as civilians killed during these recent events, and offered heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.

UN Invited

Meanwhile the regional body has invited the U. N. Security Council to help enhance the mandate and strength of the peacekeeping mission in Mali to carry out its mission in the applying the Ouagadougou Agreement.

ECOWAS said the invitation was necessary to help Mali effectively regain sovereignty throughout its territory, including Kidal. ECOWAS reaffirmed its commitment to preserve the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Mali and demanded the immediate withdrawal of non-state armed groups from public buildings and occupied areas, and return to their pre-17 May positions.

The Heads of State welcomed the initiatives of the United Nations and African Union Chairman, Mouhamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania, for facilitating the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the Government and the non-state armed groups in Northern Mali on 23 May 2014.

They urged all the stakeholders to strictly adhere to the sacrosanct nature of the ceasefire agreement and ensure its application, whilst the Malian Government with support from the International Community is to find a political solution to the issues at stake.

The Summit reiterated its earlier call on the Government of Mali to take full responsibility for, and expedite the preparation and conduct of the inclusive Inter-Malian Dialogue.

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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