Ghana: ECOWAS defence chiefs pledge support for anti-Ebola fight

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - ECOWAS military chiefs have pledged the support of the military of member states for the battle against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which is ravaging the region.

The pledge against the epidemic that has claimed over 2,000 lives in the region was one of the eight recommendations at the just-concluded meeting of the military chiefs, under the aegis of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS), held in Ghana's capital, Accra.

They commended the efforts being made by the region’s leaders, the ECOWAS Commission and other stakeholders to combat the disease and pledged the support of the defence forces for various initiatives in member states.

“The military is ever ready and always the first to respond to any emergency,” such as the Ebola outbreak, which has been characterised as a threat to regional security, CDDS Chair, Vice Admiral Mathew Quashie of Ghana, told journalists after the meeting.

ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman echoed the Chairman’s optimistic sentiment, noting that the military in the region had demonstrated its capacity to protect Community citizens from any security threats by lending its professional support whether in the political or social sector.

On the security situation in North-East Nigeria, the defence chiefs called for enhanced intelligence sharing among member states and the stepping up of training in counter-insurgency.

The Guest of Honour at the closing ceremony, Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey, said: “Boko Haram has created mayhem in Nigeria and needs to be stopped,” adding that “Africa cannot afford an unstable Nigeria”

Lending its support to the outcome of the meeting of Naval Chiefs of Defence Staff held on the margins of the CCDS session, the CCDS urged the ECOWAS Commission and the Naval chiefs of Maritime Pilot Zone E, grouping Benin, Niger, Nigeria and Togo, to take all necessary measures to ensure the activation of the Zone E Maritime Multinational Coordinating Centre
(MMCC) by January 2015.

This is to serve as an impetus for the activation of the other Zones towards effectively securing the seas within the ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) zones, in line with the decisions of their Joint Summit held June last year, to curb piracy and other maritime crimes.

The Accra CCDS meeting also recommended the acceleration of the ECOWAS-facilitated Defence and Security Sector Reform programme in Guinea Bissau and called for partner support for the country.

It also encouraged the Bissau Government to adopt the necessary political will towards resolving all outstanding issues to ensure sustainable peace and development in the country.

The defence chiefs enjoined development partners to assist ECOWAS in the reimbursement to Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) for the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), which was replaced by the UN Mission last year, and ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB).

Held under the theme “Strengthening ECOWAS Military Cooperation for Peace, Stability and Development,” the meeting reviewed the general security situation in the region.
-0- PANA SEG/AR 14Sept2014

14 september 2014 16:24:02




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