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ECOWAS Defence Chiefs meet in Ghana over growing cross-border insecurity

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As the rate of insecurity continues in the West African sub-region, the chiefs of defence staff of member-states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are meeting on a two-day meeting in Accra, Ghana to address security issues.

The summit which began on Thursday is aimed at strengthening military cooperation in the region plagued by growing insecurity.

Issaafrica reported that violent extremism is escalating in West Africa’s coastal states. This is terrifying for citizens but is just the tip of the insurgency iceberg. Under the surface lies a covert network that ensures terrorism continues in the region. Evidence is emerging that jihadists’ activities within and through coastal states are enabling them to fund, staff, and run the logistics they need to thrive.

Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria are battling with jihadist insurgencies and neighbouring states such as Ghana, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire are worried about spill over to their borders.

Ghana’s Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul, while addressing representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Ghana’s capital Accra, said that in three years, the region has suffered more than 5,300 attacks blamed on terrorists, resulting in about 16,000 deaths and more displaced people.

Between January and March, more than 840 attacks took place. the minister called for greater intelligence sharing to better monitor jihadist groups.

“As professionals, we must resolve to bury our differences imposed by our nationality, our culture (…) and move forward with greater collaboration,” Nitiwul insisted.

West Africa has been rocked by two coups in Mali, one in Guinea and one in Burkina Faso since August 2020.

Despite the sanctions on Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, the regional body allowed representatives of the three countries to attend the meeting because of the urgency.

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Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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