Mali: Possibility of ECOWAS intervention increasing
The current chair of the African Union, Benin President Boni Yayi, said Friday West African nations would soon meet on strategies to intervene in Mali, where Islamist extremists have seized the north.
West African bloc – the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which includes 15 countries, has made 3,300 standby troops available to Mali to help it win back the north.
Mali has however said it does not want African troops to be deployed into combat against the extremists, but seeks logistical support from its neighbors.
“There will soon be an extraordinary ECOWAS meeting to listen to military chiefs of staff on the intervention strategy,” Yayi said during a joint press conference with visiting Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama.
Mali interim president Dioncounda Traore has requested assistance in “the reorganization of armed forces and security” in terms of training, equipment and logistical support.
The country was considered one of the region’s stable democracies until a March 22 coup plunged it into turmoil.
Taking advantage of the chaos, Islamic extremists allied to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb seized key towns in the vast desert north.
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