Ecowas troops 'only welcome in N Mali'

2012-08-15 07:55


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bamako - Mali's military on Tuesday rejected the deployment of any foreign West African soldiers to the capital, saying any regional intervention could only take place in the North of the country, currently occupied by Islamist groups.

The comments, after talks between West African defence chiefs and Malian authorities, are likely to dismay regional leaders who have been seeking to shore up a weak civilian administration in Bamako before helping the local army take on a mix of gunmen including some from al-Qaeda.

Mali faces a twin crisis after rebel fighters took advantage of the void following a 22 March coup to seize the North.

Although soldiers have since handed power back to civilians, they have been accused of continued political meddling and, concerned at the prospect of a terrorist safe haven in the desert North, African and Western leaders have made stabilising the capital a priority.

"There is no question of soldiers from [West Africa's] Ecowas bloc in Bamako but [they could send] some to the North. We could have 600-800 Ecowas troops in support of ours," said Colonel Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele, chief of staff of Mali's army.

The figure is far less than the 3 000-strong mission Ecowas, the Economic Community of West African States, has said it is seeking a United Nations mandate for in Mali.

It was not immediately clear whether Mali's army would accept regional trainers to help revamp a force that lost control of the three northern regions in as many days after the coup.


Malian soldiers have complained that Ecowas was swift in imposing sanctions after the coup but dragged its feet in coming to their assistance in the early days of the rebellion, which started in January.

Some have accused countries in the region of blocking at their ports arms shipments destined for the land-locked nation.

An attack on President Dioncounda Traore by a pro-coup mob in May highlighted tensions between civilians and military and led to calls for international forces to be dispatched to the capital to bolster confidence in the civilian administration.

However, Dahirou said Traore had said he was confident in the armed forces so no such deployment would be needed.

Salamatou Husseini Soulaimane, an Ecowas commissioner for political and security issues, said it would be up to regional leaders to react to the Malian position.

While Malian political and military figures bicker over who is in charge during a proposed transition, a mix of Islamist forces, dominated by al-Qaeda's regional wing, Aqim, have cemented their occupation of the North.

Although not yet threatened by a Malian or regional counter-attack, their efforts to impose strict Islamic law, sharia, has sparked pockets of resistance from the population accustomed to a more tolerant brand of Islam.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    aqim  |  ecowas  |  al-qaeda  |  dioncounda traore  |  mali  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

All Blacks batter brave Tonga
Byrne: Israel Folau a 'freak'
As it happened: New Zealand 47-9 Tonga
England World Cup coaches barred

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.