Leaders from West, Central Africa to address piracy, drugs, trafficking in region

Heads of state and government leaders from 25 West and Central African countries along the Gulf of Guinea are meeting in Cameroon's capital Monday to address escalating piracy, trafficking and other illicit activities in the strategic region.

The United Nations Security Council and various United States think tanks have warned that left unchecked, the expanding insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea risks significantly endangering global trade, regional development and stability as the region becomes more sought after for oil and its strategic location.

A report this month said that piracy affected more ships and sailors off West Africa than off Somalia's coast last year, and cost West Africa up to $950 million last year.