West African Leaders Meet, Discuss Military Plan for Mali

Posted November 11th, 2012 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
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West African leaders met in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to discuss a military strategy to help Mali retake control of the north of the country from Islamist rebels.

Leaders from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States gathered in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, Sunday to approve the blueprint, which was drawn up by African and Western military.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the intervention force was needed to prevent “costly consequences” not just in Mali but the whole of Africa.

” One of the lessons, years of conflict management in our region has taught us, is to treat conflict in one country as a regional challenge requiring a common regional response. This approach makes sense because the crises we have witnessed across West Africa in the past two decades have often generated consequences that have extended beyond these sources and countries of origin.''

The military force will be a combined effort by the African Union, the United Nations, Mali, the European Union and ECOWAS which will contribute some 3,200 troops to the effort.

Once finalized, the plan will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council for review.

Mali has been in chaos since a March 22 military coup toppled the elected government and paved the way for armed groups to seize the north.

More than 300,000 people have fled northern Mali this year, many of them into neighboring countries. Rights groups say those who remained are being subjected to serious human rights violations as Islamist militants impose a harsh version of Islamic law.