ACCRA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the sub-regional group, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said on Friday they will rally together and fight the notorious militant group Boko Haram which is reigning terror on Nigeria.
They will therefore request a special session at the upcoming 24th African Union Summit in order to discuss and plan, not as separate sub-regions, but one united continent the way forward in their collective fight against terrorism.
Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama who is the Chairman of the sub-regional body told local and international media here on Friday that it was time to deal with the menace of terrorism more decisively on the African continent.
"I've reached out to my fellow heads of state; am requesting that in the light of this situation, we redefine our protocol. These are extraordinary times that call for measures that are equally as extraordinary," Mahama declared.
He added, "I am through the President of ECOWAS requesting a special session at the upcoming 24th AU Summit in order to discuss and plan, not as separate sub-regions, but one united continent the way forward in our collective fight against terrorism."
The Ghanaian president said, it was through a similar collaborative effort and assistance of the international community that the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease was launched.
"To this end, in the fight against Ebola, ECOWAS raised the alarm and enlisted the assistance of every ally, and made practical use of every resource. This resulted in a strong international partnership which is involved in the fight against EBOLA," he said.
Mahama insisted, "It has become increasingly clear that if we are to win the fight against terrorism, we must do the same on that front as we have done with Ebola. We need to raise the alarm, we need to enlist the assistance of every ally, and we need to make practical use of every resource available to us."
It is estimated that about 10,000 lives have been lost through horrendous activities of the terrorist group which for the past few years has been raiding schools and shooting children, burning them alive in their dormitories.
The militant group has also been kidnapping victims and forcing them into bondage; invading towns to massacre the residents, attacking worshipers at mosques, bombing civilians at bus stops, and in markets.
At first, these attacks were infrequent and almost random in their occurrence, then they started taking place in an almost predictable regularity: every few months, then after that, month- after-month, then week after week, and now it seems that every few days, we get work of more attacks and more deaths, observed the ECOWAS Chairman.
Mahama said his desire was that African leaders would emerge from that session at the AU summit with a specific plan of action to deal permanently with the issue of terror on the continent.
He explained that although ECOWAS had always been ready to assist any member-state under distress, it could not have entered into Nigeria without a specific request from that country, adding that, with the escalation of the terror, he thought it was time to take the fight to Boko Haram.
"We cannot stand by silently, idly waiting for the international community to intervene on our behalf: not when our brothers and sisters are being butchered and burnt in their homes and on the streets of their villages and towns," he stressed.
He said the sub-regional body and the continent could no longer sit by when "our girls are still out there somewhere waiting for us to bring them back home, and not when we have within us and all around us the power and the ability to fight back."