Today, the United States and Nigeria convened a virtual meeting with members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and representatives of West African states and relevant regional organizations to discuss the threat of ISIS in West Africa and ways the Coalition can contribute to collective efforts to ensure ISIS’s enduring defeat in the region.
Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, marking his first meeting as the newly designated Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, outlined the Coalition’s increasing focus on defeating ISIS’s global branches and affiliates. Ambassador Sales also expressed his appreciation to the Nigerian delegation, led by Rear Admiral Yaminu E. Musa, Coordinator for the Counter Terrorism Centre in Nigeria’s Office of the National Security Adviser, for co-hosting the event.
With this focus on West Africa, the Coalition also announced Mauritania’s accession into the Coalition as the 83rd member. Since January 2017, the Coalition has welcomed 14 new members from Africa and Asia and continues to expand its reach and cooperation against ISIS branches and affiliates.
Today’s meeting included sessions on understanding and countering the threat, moderated by U.S. Special Envoy for the Sahel Ambassador J. Peter Pham. Representatives from Global Coalition members Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Niger, and co-host Nigeria provided key insights on troubling developments of ISIS affiliate activity in West Africa and suggested ways the Coalition could enhance efforts to counter these trends.
As the Global Coalition seeks to apply lessons learned from the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria to other locations, participants reviewed potential lines of effort, including the use of battlefield evidence and border security measures that could be applied in West Africa.