Bamako (Agenzia Fides) - "The majority of the population has welcomed the decision of ECOWAS to send a military force to northern Mali" says to Fides Agency Father Edmond Dembele, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali. On 11 November in Abuja (Nigeria), the Heads of State and Government of the member Countries of the Economic Community of West African States indeed gave their consent to sending a military force of 3,300 men to Mali to help the army retake the north of Mali, for months in the hands of different Islamist groups. The mission of the ECOWAS force, for a period of one year, must be approved by a resolution of the UN Security Council.
"People have been waiting for a long time for a strong reaction from the State and international organizations in order to cope with the crisis in the north of the Country, especially because in the region basic necessities are beginning to lack," said Fr. Dembele. "The Red Cross has launched a warning saying that more than 150,000 people are at risk for lack of food and drinking water. It is feared that with the start of military operations, humanitarian crisis worsens for the people who have remained in the north but also for the displaced," concludes the priest, who underlines that from the north news of violence and abuse against civilians continue. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 12/11/2012