West Africa piracy summit planned

2011-11-21 21:06

Lagos - A summit of West African leaders will take place in early 2012 to discuss efforts to address a recent upsurge in sea piracy in the region, a statement from regional bloc Ecowas said on Monday.

The summit "is being planned in the first quarter of 2012 to get the political support of regional leaders behind West Africa's effort to combat the menace of piracy in a holistic manner," it quoted ECOWAS Commission head James Victor Gbeho as saying.

The exact date for the summit of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States is yet to be set.

Benin has seen at least 20 piracy incidents off its coast this year, compared with none last year. Piracy has long been a problem off neighbouring Nigeria, Africa's largest crude producer.

The two countries have launched joint patrols in a bid to address the problem.

Attacks have mainly seen pirates hijack tankers off the west African coast and steal fuel or oil cargo to sell on the region's lucrative black market.

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