West African nations met with European leaders on Tuesday for talks on preventing jihadist conflict in the Sahel from spilling over into countries on the Gulf of Guinea.
Coastal states Ghana, Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast face increasing threats and attacks from Islamist militants across their northern borders in Burkina Faso and Niger.
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The summit in Ghana’s capital Accra comes as more Western nations have withdrawn peacekeepers from Mali after its military junta strengthened cooperation with Russia.
Under the so-called Accra Initiative, heads of state from the Gulf of Guinea, Niger and Burkina Faso are meeting with representatives from the West African bloc ECOWAS, the EU, Britain and France.
“This is basically strengthening our efforts to be able to fight against terrorism and terror-related activities,” Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, Ghana’s government spokesman on governance and security, told AFP.
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The Sahel conflict began in northern Mali in 2012, spread to Burkina Faso and Niger in 2015 and now states on the Gulf of Guinea are suffering sporadic attacks.