Burkina Faso reserves the right to withdraw from the joint multinational force if the results against the insurgency do not match expectation.
A summit of heads of state of the Accra Initiative, meeting on Tuesday in the Ghanaian capital, announced the deployment of 2,000 army personnel in Burkina Faso to counter the advance of non-state armed groups, national television reported on Wednesday.
The initiative has set itself a deadline of one month to make its joint multinational force operational.
The task force comprises a contingent of 10,000 soldiers who will be stationed in Tamale, Ghana, and an intelligence component based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, a statement from the member countries said.
The Accra Initiative task force is a grouping of seven countries including Burkina Faso created to check the spread of terrorism in the region.
It focuses on “partnership and mutual support among members” in “joint operations, training and intelligence sharing,” according to member countries.
“If this initiative does not produce concrete results, Burkina Faso reserves the right to withdraw from the initiative. Because we are not in favour of endless meetings and summits that go on and on without results. I think we have been understood,” said Burkinabe prime minister, Apollinaire Joachim Kyelem de Tambela, representing Captain Ibrahim Traore in Accra.
To make the anti-terrorist force operational, the initiative needs about US$550 million, which is already attracting interest from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and Britain.
Regional leaders also recommended concrete actions, “including fundraising, to support countries severely affected by terrorism.”
Burkina Faso called for endogenous funding, away from the diktat of donors.
“For example, by taking a small amount from every kilogram of coffee sold, cocoa sold, cotton sold, gold bars mined, we can raise the funds to support this initiative,” Tembela explained.
The leaders said they had taken “good note” of Nigeria’s willingness to join the Accra Initiative task force headquarters and designated it as an observer.
The West African giant has taken the lead in the mobilisation and has committed to accompany the joint force with air and logistical support.
For the head of the Burkinabe government, the initiative has become aware of the seriousness of the situation and the members have committed themselves to setting up the task force very quickly to support the countries facing terrorism
Launched in 2017, the Accra Initiative includes Burkina Faso, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Ghana, Mali and Togo.
Bamako did not participate in the Accra summit.
Every three months, the group holds ministerial gatherings preceded by a technical meeting of security and intelligence officials.
The organisation is funded by member states.