Over 1,800 terrorist attacks killed 4,600 in West Africa in 2023

West African bloc representative informs UN Security Council of 'appalling impact of insecurity' with far-reaching consequences

Aurore Bonny  | 26.07.2023 - Update : 27.07.2023
Over 1,800 terrorist attacks killed 4,600 in West Africa in 2023

DOUALA, Cameroon

West Africa recorded more than 1,800 attacks in the first six months of the year that killed nearly 4,600 people with disastrous humanitarian consequences, a senior West African official told UN Security Council on Tuesday.

This is "an excerpt from the appalling impact of insecurity," said Omar Touray, president of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission.

Around 4,600 people died in terrorist attacks between January and June 30, including 2,725 in Burkina Faso, 844 in Mali, 77 in Niger, and 70 in Nigeria.

In his speech, he also cited Benin and Togo, two countries in the sub-region that used to be spared from terrorist attacks.

These countries have seen a number of attacks, which he described as "a striking indication of the spread of terrorism to the riparian states, a situation which poses a further threat to the region."

He pointed out that insecurity continues to inflict pain and suffering on millions of people, with far-reaching consequences.

These terrorist attacks have resulted in the displacement of half a million refugees and almost 6.2 million internally displaced people.

The number of people in need will rise to 42 million by the end of next month if there is no adequate international response to the 30 million currently in need of food, according to him.

In addition to terrorism, Touray cited armed rebellion, unconstitutional changes of government, environmental crises, fake news, and organized crime as other factors of insecurity in West Africa.

He recalled that the military chiefs had proposed a 5,000-strong brigade at an annual cost of $2.3 billion, or the deployment of troops on demand at an annual cost of $360 million.

These recommendations were made before Mali's military junta demanded the departure of the 15,000-strong UN peacekeeping force. Subsequently, the Security Council voted unanimously on June 30 to end the mission immediately.

For their part, ECOWAS leaders "reflected on the possible negative impact of the withdrawal on the region and decided to convene an extraordinary session on peace and security by the end of August," he said.

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