The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the auspices of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute, will hold a special panel discussion under the topic: “The Threat of Terrorism in the West African Region and the Need for Greater Collaboration among West African Nations.”
According to a Foreign Ministry release, the forum, which will be held at the C. Cecil Dennis Jr. Auditorium on Friday, May 6, will bring together stakeholders including sub-regional ambassadors, the representative of ECOWAS accredited near Monrovia and security professionals to discuss and devise strategies for collaboration, as well as find ways of preventing and combating terrorism in the sub-region.
The forum panelists will include: the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea, Mr. Abdoulaye Dore; Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana, Kodjo Asimeng Wadee; Ambassador of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Brima Acha Kamara; and Ambassador of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Dr. Feni Kouakou.
Others are the Ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon, Mr. Beng Yela Augustine Gang; the Charge d’Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Mohammed Tahir; and the Special Representative of ECOWAS, Mr. Tunde Assisomo.
The Policy Advisor at the National Security Agency, Mr. Edward Sharpe, will also participate in the panel discussion; while former Information Minister, Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh, will serve as moderator.
The reign of terror has risen to a new level as fanatic groups such as Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab and most recently the Islamic State (IS), who not only killed thousands in the name of Islam, but also sent millions of people around the world running for their lives, while followers have spread fear throughout the world.
Africa has not been spared such terror. The reemergence of these militant groups, has seen their presence increase across Africa.
The regional dimension of Boko Haram extends beyond attacks. The group’s criminal activities, such as arms smuggling and drug trafficking, involve several countries, including Chad, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Benin, Niger, Mali, Sudan, Somalia and Libya.
In the past few years, Boko Haram has killed thousands in its waves of terror attacks. Two and a half million people either fled across borders or are homeless in their own country. With terrorism spreading in Nigeria and among its neighbors, it is even coming closer to Liberia.
In November 2015, there was a deadly hostage drama at a Malian Hotel when gunmen stormed the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, taking hostages and killing at least 21 persons.
In January 2016 gunmen attacked the Cappuccino restaurant and the Splendid Hotel in the heart of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, killing 30 persons, while at least 56 were wounded; a total of 176 hostages were released after a government counterattack into the next morning, when the siege ended. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al-Mourabitoun.
In March 2016, in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire, six gunmen targeted hotels on a beach at Grand Bassam, a weekend retreat popular with Western expatriates about 25 miles east of Abidjan, in which 16 people, including four Europeans, were killed.