Ivory Coast and France on Thursday inaugurated a counter-terrorism academy designed to elevate the ability to counter a widespread jihadist threat in the Sahel region.
Ivorian PM Patrick Achi and his defence minister, Tene Birahima Ouattara, were joined by French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for the opening of the International Academy for the Fight Against Terrorism (AILCT) based outside the business capital of the country, Abidjan.
“The AILCT will be at the forefront of the response (to terror) of a free and conscientious West Africa, specially trained and utterly determined to fight jihadism,” said Achi.
Ouattara said that the academy would be a focal point of regional competence in the anti-terror fight to benefit the stability of the states and the security of the population. He added that 500 people had already gone through training since 2017 before the formal inauguration of the facility.
The site comes as an achievement as this region is struggling with attacks by the jihadi groups from northern neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso. This week also an Ivorian soldier was killed in one such attack near the Burkina Faso border.