AFRICA/MALI - The West African Countries discuss the intervention in northern Mali
Bamako (Agenzia Fides) - The sending of a military force in Mali has been the focus of a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), which was held yesterday in Abidjan (Côte d 'Ivoire). In early September, the ad interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traoré, formally requested military aid from the ECOWAS Countries to regain the north of the Country, since the end of March in the hands of different Islamist groups (see Fides 05/09/2012 ).
"A lot of Malians have agreed to ask for the support of ECOWAS to regain the north," says to Fides Agency Father Edmond Dembele, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali. "The debate is about how military aid will be managed, and disagreement regarding this issue is expected. In particular, the Malian military do not want the presence of troops from ECOWAS in the capital Bamako, and hope that the foreign troops are used only to help those Malians to regain the north."
"The ECOWAS Countries - adds Fr. Dembele - want things to be clarified before making operational decisions such as sending troops or logistical support. Discussions are still going on in Abidjan, at the level of Chiefs of Staff. It is likely that next week we will know what Mali intends to ask and what other ECOWAS Countries are prepared to offer."
The Malian army is preparing for the reconquest of the north, but it is currently not able to deal with armed groups that control this area of the Country alone. In March, when the north fell into the hands of Islamist groups, troops, taken by surprise by the advance of the rebels, abandoned in their barracks a large number of weapons that are now in the hands of the Islamists.
The ability demonstrated by Islamist groups to defeat the regular army and the secular National Liberation Movement of Azawad (MNLA), was also attributed to the support offered to them by some foreign Countries. In the Malian press articles have appeared related to sending weapons to the Islamists in the north of Mali by air, it seems, belonging to Qatar. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 18/09/2012)
- 2013-04-29 AFRICA/MALI – The situation improves but the plight of displaced persons and refugees is not forgotten
- 2013-04-10 AFRICA/MALI - Refugees, food shortages and mine clearance: new emergencies in the Country
- 2013-03-07 AFRICA/MALI - The population of Mali finds hope again
- 2013-02-12 AFRICA/MALI - Religious leaders consulted on the crisis of the Malian army
- 2013-02-04 AFRICA/MALI - The situation is improving but the crisis is not over; Bishop of Mopti’s appeal for the displaced
- 2013-02-01 AFRICA/MALI - "The need to face the challenge of national reconciliation immediately" ask the Bishops
- 2013-01-28 AFRICA/MALI - The population of the cities liberated are celebrating
- 2013-01-24 AFRICA/MALI - Armed conflict exacerbates the already precarious country's education system
- 2013-01-24 AFRICA/MALI - Bishops’ appeal for prayer and solidarity, who today will be received by the Head of State
- 2013-01-23 AFRICA/MALI - Japan closes its embassy in Bamako, but there are no specific threats against foreigners