In their efforts to curb the expansion of the use and effects of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in West Africa, ECOWAS and Small Arms Survey organized from 21 to 22 November 2022, the regional conference on the fight against improvised explosive devices in Lomé in the Togolese Republic.
This conference, which brought together experts in the field of combating IEDs in the Member States, had the main objective of proposing a regional response in the fight against IEDs, and more specifically to present the results of basic research on IEDs To date, existing dynamics, actors, emerging continental and regional counter-IED architecture, African Union (AU) continental counter-IED strategy, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (in English: Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD), national experiences and responses in the fight against IEDs, areas of technical support required by States, next steps for the regional response, as well as mechanisms and processes by ECOWAS Member States.
A total of four speeches were made during the opening ceremony, including that of the Vice-President of the National Commission (COMNAT) for light and small caliber weapons (SALW) Togo, who recalled that the regions of Africa of the West and the Sahel are constantly disturbed by the scourge of improvised explosive devices which sow terror among our populations, and indicated that this meeting must help to find innovative responses to get our countries out of the scourge of IEDs and to guarantee the peace and security in our countries.
Following the Vice-President of COMNAT Togo, Mr. Daniel de Tores, Director of Small Arms Survey pointed out that: “ECOWAS has always been a world leader in the response to the proliferation of illicit weapons and ammunition , beginning with the ECOWAS moratorium of 1998 and continuing in 2006 with Africa’s first legally binding regional convention on the control of small arms and calibers”. He further remarked that the ECOWAS region is now facing a new and growing threat, in the growing use of and calls for a collective response.
The ECOWAS Commission co-organizer of this program whose light weapons division represented Ambassador Abdel-Fatau MUSAH, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of ECOWAS indicated: ”It is imperative to have a regional strategic approach to the fight against improvised explosive devices”.
He further recalled that ECOWAS remains available to support member states through actions to improve technical skills in the fight against IEDs.
Ending the series of speeches, the President of COMNAT Togo, the Gal / Dir. Abalo KADANGHA expressed Togo’s gratitude to friendly countries who continue to provide their solidarity through advice and technical and practical support in order to face this new threat posed by IEDs. He further indicated that: “this meeting advocates for national efforts in terms of responses and sub-regional and national” in the framework of the effective fight against IEDs.
At the end of these two days of work, relevant recommendations were adopted by all Member States.