By Lamin B. Darboe
The Head Chief of Kombo North District recently returned from Niamey, Niger where he attended a two-day ECOWAS stakeholders meeting on Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the ECOWAS Region.
In an exclusive inetrveiw with our reporter in his Sukuta resident after returning from the said meeting, Alhajie Momodou Bojang expressed his personal gratitude to the organizers of the meeting through the Governmnet of The Gambia.
The theme for the meeting was: Fighting Terrorism in the ECOWAS Region:Towards a Collective Engagement for Sustainable Peace.
According to Chief Bojang, terrorism cannot be eradicated in the region without the involment of both the ECOWAS and French speaking countries in the region and the traditional leaders at grassroot level in particular.
He said the meeting shared and identified the critical role and engagement of each actor in the fight against terrorism and communal conflicts and how best the responsibility could be harness in the current uprising of attacks by terrorists in the region.
Chief Bojang informed that the meeting provided an opportunity to give information on tools for conflict prevention and resolution with a focus on example of dialogue and mediation which contribuited in the region and elsewhere to counterterrorism, peace and security.
According to Kombo North Chief Momodou Bojang, the meeting also provided for experts and panelists to shared initiatives and best practices in the fight against terrorism and communal clashes.
He highlighted some of the recommendations emanited from the meeting which includes: improvement of intelligence sharing and collection, ensure inclusive and coordinated interventions among stakeholders at all levels, invest in cross-cutting security issues.
Establish local and community mediation platforms such as peace committee that can play the role of duty bearers in helping to douse emerging tensions so as to tip in the bud any potential cause of violent conflicts, prevent radicalization and extremism, participate amongst and between communities.
“We also recommended that ECOWAS Member States should stop interference in the appointments and selections of traditional and religious leaders in order to protect the sanctity of such institutions to enable them peform their role as neutral and impartial arbiters in the prevention and resolution of conflicts at the community levels,” Bojang explained.