African leaders on Monday urged their states to help ensure their own security at the opening of the fourth edition of the Dakar Forum on Peace and Security in Africa.
“The military response must be united and comprehensive to leave no sanctuary for terrorist groups,” said Senegalese President Macky Sall, in the presence of his Rwandan counterparts Paul Kagame and Malian Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
“The risk today is to see defeated terrorists elsewhere look for fallback areas in Africa,” said Sall, referring in particular to the setbacks suffered by the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria .
“We must beware of ready-made solutions, conceived without Africans,” he added. “The consequences of these interventions, we live in the Sahel, are often worse than the harm they were supposed to cure,” he added, referring to Western intervention in Libya in 2011.
If we let others define our challenges and take responsibility for solving our problems, we can only blame ourselves.
The French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, greeted the memory of the victims of the attacks of November 13, 2015, which left 130 dead in Paris and its suburbs.
“We do not forget that our African friends know what it means to be beaten in the flesh by terrorist barbarism,” she said, reiterating France’s support for the “joint force” to fight against terrorism. jihadists that are being formed the G5 Sahel countries, with the support of the French force Barkhane deployed in the region (4,000 men).
The strength of G5 Sahel (Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) is “an African initiative that is a success,” assured the French minister. “I think that’s the meaning of history,” she said, repeating that it was “important for the international community to give its full support to this initiative”.
“The idea (of this force) mocked, mocked at the beginning, I believe today convinced of its relevance,” said for its part Mr Keita, President in office of G5 Sahel.
“When we see how we need today the financing we need for a common work …”, he lamented, while the joint force struggles to attract funding, beyond the contributions pledged by France , the EU and the United States.
According to the chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, “the multinational force against (the Nigerian jihadist group) Boko Haram and (that of) G5 Sahel are the latest illustrations of the African doctrine of support operations to the peace”.
“It is of the utmost importance that the United Nations provide the necessary support to these initiatives to enable them to realize their potential,” he said.
Mr. Kagame, who will chair the AU in 2018, urged his African peers to take charge. “If we let others define our challenges and take responsibility for solving our problems, we can only blame ourselves,” he said, while recognizing the importance of international cooperation.
“Africa must take charge of its security, but for that we need our partners to accompany us,” Macky Sall insisted. “The maintenance of the forces, the indemnities to be paid, the filling of manpower … Here, the European Union, the United Nations will be able to come in supplement. But the base must be ensured by the Africans “.