THE ROLE OF ECOMOG IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND PEACE KEEPING OPERATIONS IN WEST AFRICA. THE CASE STUDY OF LIBERIA AND SIERRA LEONE 1989-2012
- Background to the Study
The Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) was formed due to the determination of West African Leaders to foster peace and stability for progressive economic and bilateral relationship among member states. Almost became an optical illusion with the protracted Liberian crisis which degenerated into brutal civil war in 1989.1
In other to curtail the Security problem in Liberia which was literally neglected by the international community – the leaders approved standing mediation committee and the cease fire monitoring group (ECOMOG) which were set-up on 7th August, 1990 in Banjul and in the Gambia. The approval of ECOWAS cease fire monitoring group (ECOMOG) and its deployment to Liberia attracted sharp criticism from various quarters especially the Francophone countries which described it as direct intervention in the Internal Affairs of Liberia.
However, to a large extent the situation in Liberia with gross humanitarian abuses by the combatants without the attention of the international community precipitated (ECOMOG) intervention.
This opposition within the ECOWAS made peace keeping operation and restoration of peace and security in Liberia complex and elongated.2 The formation or establishment of ECOMOG was carried out in sub-region of West Africa which include: Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia to mention but a few.
The sole aim of the organization was to delineate or indicate precisely the emerging trends, challenges and problematic of inter-West African Sub-regional approach to conflict management and to point the way forward by way of conflict prevention or resolution strategies.3 It identifies Nigeria as the sub-regional “hegemony” or “Octopus” in terms of being the main contributor of most force commanders troops, equipment and fundings.
ECOMOG as an Organizational body continued to exist and function as a result of the persistent crisis or conflict in West Africa.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The military missions that ECOMOG has carried out since it came into existence in 1990 may be categorized as follows: Intervention, peace enforcement and peacekeeping. The terms and nature of operations in each category are briefly discussed below, along with the key aspects of community relations, peace building, and command and control.
ECOMOG intervention missions have involved combat action against insurgents or factions which resist the authority of the demure government. Such intervention missions are aimed at securing a cease-fire, creating a conducive atmosphere for negotiations and the protection of non-combatants through establishment of safe havens