Denouncing terrorist attacks in West Africa, Security Council stresses need to address root causes

Friday, 20 January 2017 - 12:00am

UN Photo/Evan Schneider | A wide view of the Security Council meeting on peace consolidation in West Africa.

Strongly condemning all terrorist attacks in West Africa, particularly those carried out by Boko Haram militants in the Lake Chad Basin, the United Nations Security Council today stressed the need to combat terrorism in all its forms and to address the conditions conducive to its spread.

In a Presidential Statement read out in a formal meeting, the 15-member body reiterated its deep concern over the dire humanitarian situation caused by the activities of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region.

“In this regard,” the statement read, “the Security Council calls upon the international community to immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the people most affected by the crisis in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, including by fulfilling the UN appeal for the Lake Chad Basin region.”

The Council also called on Governments in the region to facilitate access for humanitarian organizations, and to work with the UN and international partners to develop viable options for delivering aid and urged the Multinational Joint Task Force participating countries to further enhance regional military cooperation and coordination, deny safe haven to Boko Haram, and facilitate the restoration of civilian security and the rule of law in areas liberated from the militant group.

Further, welcoming subregional, regional and international efforts to mitigate the security, humanitarian and development impact of Boko Haram’s activities, the Security Council underlined that the UN Member States must ensure that any counter-terrorism measures are in compliance with all obligations under international law, particularly international human rights, humanitarian and refugee laws.

The statement also noted that the Council was encouraged by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) authority’s decision concerning the political situation in Gambia, as well as decisions by the African Union Peace and Security Council that the regional bloc would cease to recognize outgoing President Yahya Jammeh as the legitimate President of that country.

The Council went on to welcome recent positive political developments in several West African countries, in particular the holding of free and peaceful elections in Cabo Verde and Ghana, and the outcome of the political dialogue in Guinea, as well as welcomed steps taken to develop and institute political, institutional and constitutional reforms in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Also in the statement, the Security Council expressed deep regret over bombing of the camp for displaced persons in Rann, north-eastern Nigeria, on 17 January, which had resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians, including internally displaced persons and humanitarian workers. The Council also urged the Government of Nigeria to investigate the incident swiftly.