News24

AU sets donors meeting on Mali force

2013-01-18 11:51

Addis Ababa - The African Union said on Thursday it will hold a donors conference on 29 January to garner funds and support for the Malian army and for the African force being deployed to help Mali fight off Islamist insurgents.

A meeting of the African Union and the West African regional bloc Ecowas "agreed that the donors' conference ... would be held in Addis Ababa on 29 January following the conclusion of the AU summit", the pan-African body said in a statement.

The UN Security Council last month approved sending an African-led military force to help re-conquer the north of Mali from Islamist militants.

The UN resolution gave the African-led force an initial one-year mandate to use "all necessary measures" to help Mali's government take back territory seized in the wake of a coup last March from "terrorist, extremist and armed groups".

While the Economic Community of West African States has been mobilising troops from regional countries, the AU Commission will lead the mobilisation of contingents from elsewhere on the continent, the statement said.

Nigeria will command the force and has pledged 900 troops but has so far failed to meet its deadline for getting them on the ground in Mali.

Other west African states that have pledged troops are: Benin, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Togo.

Burundi has offered to contribute troops to the force, which is known by the acronym AFISMA - the African-led International Support Mission in Mali.

Al-Qaeda linked groups and other Islamists that have taken over parts of northern Mali have imposed a brutal form of sharia law.