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The ECOWAS Counter Terrorism Strategy Tracker is Open Data platform by the Centre for Democracy and Development with support from the Access Nigeria Project. The platform is intended to provide practical analysis of operational policy framework for ECOWAS counter-terrorism actions, its countries and for promoting a common regional approach to the prevention and combating of terrorism within the Community. It also seeks to harness support and resources at the continental and international levels to enhance the capabilities of Community Members to enforce their continental and international counter-terrorism obligations and to enable them undertake rapid responses to terrorist acts.

The Tracker documents violent extremist incidences and government response across West Africa and beyond. The platform includes database of counterterrorism efforts, casualties and scope of terrorist attacks, violent extremist groups, and the locations and natures of terrorist attacks. Tracker documents daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly analyses of trends and patterns of violent extremism in West Africa and beyond. As a crowdsourcing database, the platform integrates incidence in figures and narratives as they happen, making it the open database that offers rich and helpful data for research and information for intelligence generation. Details within the database are also available as infographics and in real-time form.

Goals: The goal is for the ECOWAS member and observer states to understand terrorist veracity and ECOWAS CTS implementation efforts within ECOWAS, particularly in Nigeria. CDD hopes the tool will also educate the public about terrorism issues in the region.

It is intended that the platform will present available, usable and actionable data that can be utilized by all sundry for the purpose research, analysis, policy development, decision and for engendering collective and coordinated effort for the prevention of violent extremism within the ECOWAS region.

The purpose of this strategy is to give effect to regional, continental and international counter-terrorism instruments and to provide a common operational framework for action to prevent and eradicate terrorism and related criminal acts within the community, while protecting human security, human and people’s rights, and creating conducive conditions for sound economic development and the well being of all Community’s citizens. In this context, this Strategy seeks to strengthen operational capabilities for responding to terrorism and to achieve the following objectives:

  • Enhance coordination among Member States, particularly in the fields of intelligence, law enforcement, investigation, and the prosecution of terrorist crimes;
  • Strengthen national and regional capacities to detect, deter, intercept, and prevent terrorist crimes;
  • Promote a criminal justice approach that emphasizes the rule of law, due process, respect for human rights and protect civilians in counter-terrorism activities;
  • Prevent and combat violent religious radicalism/extremism
  • Harmonize responses to terrorism including counter-terrorism legislations; and
  • Promote regional and international cooperation on terrorism related matters including extradition and mutual legal assistance.

In view of the transnational and international dimensions of terrorism in West Africa, this Strategy is anchored on the belief that cooperation among Member States in various fields of preventing and combating terrorism is critical for achieving its objectives. In this context, Member States shall share and coordinate, at all times critical information on terrorist elements and shall afford to one another the greatest measure of assistance in their efforts to prevent and combat terrorism in all the pillars that constitute this Strategy. Other core principles underpinning this Strategy include:

  • Terrorism has emerged as a serious threat to peace, security, stability, development and social cohesion in West Africa;
  • Primacy of prevention and the respect for human rights;
  • Good governance and a democratic culture are prerequisites for effective counter-terrorism;
  • Counter-terrorism requires both military and non-military strategies and tools; and
  • Cooperation among states and technical assistance in all fields constitute a cornerstone for the successful implementation of this Strategy.

For the purpose of this Strategy, terrorism shall be generally understood as defined by the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism. In addition, specific offenses such as those against the making of plastic bombs and against terrorist bombings shall be understood in the context of relevant international treaties that Member States are parties to.