The Heads of State of Chad, H.E. Idriss Deby; Cameroon, H.E. Paul Biya; Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo; Gabon, H.E. Ali Bongo; Congo Brazzaville, H.E. Denis Sassou, and of the Central African Republic, H.E. Catherine Samba Zamba, adopted the Yaounde Declaration, on Monday, February 16, in the Conference Room of the Cameroonian capital, at the Extraordinary Summit of the Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa-COPAX, devoted to the fight against Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.
H.E. Idriss Deby Itno, Head of State of the Chadian Republic, presided over the opening ceremony, in his capacity as current Chairman of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and Chairman of the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State of the Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa (COPAX), in which the participants highlighted the danger to the stability of the entire subregion of Central Africa posed by this terrorist group, guilty of murdering victims among the civilian population.
In the final communiqué, the summit participants unanimously recognized the gravity of the threat posed by Boko Haram to the stability of Cameroon and Chad, as well as the entire subregion of Central Africa. Therefore, they strongly condemned the repeated and unjustifiable attacks of the terrorist group against these two countries and abuses against civilians, while they lamented the loss of life, looting, destruction of property and the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
After the opening ceremony on February 16, the heads of state and delegations of member countries of the ECCAS met in a closed session to define the strategy to support Cameroon and Chad in the fight against the armed group.
During this session, they listened to speeches by H.E. Paul Biya and H.E. Idriss Deby Itno. Both speakers emphasized the seriousness of the situation, recalling that Boko Haram has quality troops and military equipment. They noted that each of their countries, Cameroon and Chad respectively, has mobilized over six thousand men to fight terrorism and invited other States of the community to take action to help end the group, since if it is not neutralized, it could destabilize the entire subregion.
In this regard, the leaders agreed on the need to work together to provide a common and coordinated response, and reaffirmed their commitment to support Cameroon and Chad, through the mechanisms provided by the COPAX Protocol and the mutual assistance pact between the ECCAS member States through emergency financing, namely 50,000 billion CFA francs (nearly 100 million dollars).
They also agreed to create a fund of multidimensional support in the areas of logistics, humanitarian assistance, communication, and resolved to strengthen supervision of their territory and communication for the benefit of their populations, to reduce the risk of infiltration of members of Boko Haram within the borders of the subregion, and therefore be able to cut their supply networks.
As interregional strategy against maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the Heads of State and Government expressed their desire to develop active cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and, to this end, asked their counterparts in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo to explore with the President of ECOWAS, John Dramani Mahama, the chances of holding an ECCAS-ECOWAS summit in order to adopt a common strategy against Boko Haram.
Convinced of the vital role to be played by the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the fight against the terrorist group, the attending authorities in Yaounde also decided to carry out political and diplomatic actions in their direction, in order to increase cooperation between this country and the two member States of ECCAS with which it shares borders, Cameroon and Chad. So they instructed H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and H.E. Denis Sassou, the Presidents of Equatorial Guinea, and Republic of Congo, to address Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and discuss this collaboration.
In addition, the top leaders gathered at the summit adopted the Yaoundé Declaration of February 16, 2015, which unequivocally establishes its commitment in the fight against the armed group. They also thanked the African Union for the authorized deployment of the Joint Multinational Force (JMF), and requested the African institution to accelerate the process of legalization in the Security Council of the UN.
The Heads of State congratulated the General Secretariat of the ECCAS for all the initiatives to mobilize the community for the sake of security in the subregion. And finally, they expressed their sincere thanks to the host of the summit, H.E. Paul Biya, President of Cameroon, the Government and all the people of Cameroon for the welcome, hospitality and all the attention received during the summit.
Text: Maria Jesus Nsang (Presidential Press) and A.A.
Photos: Manuel Mangue (Presidential Press)
Equatorial Guinea’s Press and Information Office