West African nations decided on Sunday that they would put in place a regional peacekeeping force to support the member states in establishing a security and constitutional regime in the region that has seen many coups in the last two years.
West and Central Africa have made advancements in leaving their image as a “coup belt” and the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) intends to go one step ahead and reinstate constitutional government among its member states.
The West African leaders in a press release, said, “The leaders of ECOWAS have decided to recalibrate our security architecture to ensure that we take care of our own security in the region.” The nations held an annual summit in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.
The declaration further said, “The leaders are determined to establish a regional force that will intervene in the event of need, whether this is in the area of security, terrorism (or to) … restore constitutional order in member countries.”
The ECOWAS did not mention its plan to organize the force but said that the issue would be decided in the meeting of the defense chiefs next month.
The ECOWAS showed its dissatisfaction regarding the long detention of 46 Ivorian soldiers in Mali. The commission asked the authorities to free the soldiers by the end of the month.
In case the soldiers are not freed, the ECOWAS leaders “reserve the right and they have taken the decision to take certain measures, but they would appeal and call on the authorities of Mali to release the soldiers.”
The leaders unanimously agreed on an inclusive discussion between military authorities of the West African nations and all the parties and politicians and showed concern over the security issue in Burkina Faso, which had the latest coup in October.