Ecowas approves $3m aid to Sahel victims

2012-02-17 09:31
Abuja - The mediation and security council of the west African regional group Ecowas on Thursday approved humanitarian aid of $3m for victims of the food crisis and rebel attacks in the Sahel region.

The council, at the end of its pre-Ecowas summit meeting in Abuja, urged the group's Commission to take all necessary steps towards finding solutions to the problems in the Sahel, a statement of the Economic Community of West African States said.

West African heads of state and government began a two-day summit on Thursday afternoon.

Speaking at the opening,, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan warned that a security crisis in the Sahel has led to a rise in the number of weapons flowing into the drought-hit region.

The north African desert area has faced intensified threats from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) following the conflict in Libya, which caused a surge in arms profileration, the UN Security Council has said.

Some have warned that instability in the Sahel is also linked to the rise in attacks in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram Islamists who have killed more than 200 people already this year.

"We are... witnessing a lot of crisis in some parts of the sub region.... Because of the crisis we have in the Sahel region, we see [a] flow of small arms and light weapons," Jonathan said.

The Red Cross has said that at least 30 000 people are displaced in Mali and living in extremely "precarious conditions", while the number of people who have fled the country is believed to be more than 20 000.

Amid this insecurity, the Sahel also needs "urgent" assistance to mitigate against the potential onset of famine following late and erratic rains that have ruined crops across a wide swathe of territory, United Nations and European Union aid chiefs said this week.

The council also mandated that the Ecowas Commission issue a strong statement supporting all efforts to maintain the territorial integrity of Mali and Niger in light of the current insurgency attacks in the Sahel-Sahara region.

It also approved the disbursement of funds to assist member states to render support to the returnees arising from the Libyan crisis, the statement said.

The summit is expected to choose on Friday a new president of the Ecowas Commission and chairperson of the 15-nation group.

Read more on:    ecowas  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.