Groups affiliated with Daesh constitute “a persistent threat to the populations of West Africa”, according to a joint statement from the Africa Focus Group of the Global Coalition against Daesh, co-chaired by the Kingdom of Morocco.
The Africa Focus Group, also co-chaired by Italy, Saudi Arabia and the United States, met last week in Cotonou, at the invitation of the Republic of Benin, indicates the US State Department in a press release published in Washington.
In Cotonou, 28 Coalition members and observers participated in a Coalition meeting focused on regional security and counterterrorism challenges posed by ISIS-affiliated groups in the coastal region of the West Africa.
The discussions focused on coordination with other multilateral initiatives, underlines the same source, adding that the participants in the Cotonou meeting were informed of the efforts deployed by the coalition partners who are engaged or leading the Accra Initiative, the G-5, the Sahel Coalition and the Aqaba process.
The Africa Focus Group recognized that there are many factors contributing to the current security challenges in the region.
To strengthen its impact, the group is focusing its efforts on the four pillars of its action plan, namely strengthening and improving border security, biometric collection, countering Daesh propaganda and efforts recruiting and building community resilience, improving the capabilities of Coalition members to reduce sources of illicit financing for ISIS, and countering malign influences that hinder counterterrorism efforts.
Participants at the Cotonou meeting reaffirmed the importance of the ongoing frank and open exchanges, stressing that members of the Africa Focus Group are committed to sharing and developing best practices to strengthen partners’ capacities and assist countries in the fight against terrorism.
Finally, the group’s co-chairs affirmed that the Global Coalition against Daesh remains determined to confront and defeat the Islamic State in West Africa and elsewhere in the world.
The Africa Focus Group serves as a collaborative mechanism to coordinate counterterrorism assistance to strengthen the counterterrorism capacity of African members of the Coalition, the statement added.