DAKAR – On Monday, African leaders used a regional forum as a call for extra support as the continent moves to assure its own security after years of Western interventions. The annual Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security brings together the presidents of Mali, Rwanda and hosts Senegal along with military officials and experts to have a discussion on the continent’s serious challenges in the sector.
The vast Sahel region has turned into a hotbed of lawlessness since chaos engulfed Libya in 2011, book Haram rose up in northern Nigeria and Islamists overran northern Mali in 2012.
The president of Senegal Macky Sall, told the forum a military response must be comprehensive, and one of solidarity, to leave terrorist groups no place to hide. “The risk today is seeing terrorists defeated elsewhere seeking fallback zones in Africa,” said Sall. He pointed to the Western intervention in Libya as an example that shows why African populations had to be involved in decisions on rooting out terror groups, as the nation’s instability has fuelled conflict elsewhere.
“We must beware of preconceived solutions formulated without Africans,” Sall said. “The consequences of these interventions, which we are living in the Sahel, are often worse that what they were supposed to rectify,” he added.
The Dakar Forum is a French-backed initiative, and the European nation retains a heavy military presence across the Sahel.