News / Africa

    ECOWAS to Explore Dual Strategy Against Mali Militants

    Map of Mali
    Map of Mali
    Anne Look
    West African allies continue to explore a dual strategy against the al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants who seized northern Mali in April. ECOWAS - the Economic Community of West African States - is working to open negotiations with local armed groups, while finalizing its request for a U.N. intervention mandate to deploy regional troops to Mali.

    The West African regional bloc faces a flurry of activity this week as it continues to prepare for war in northern Mali, all while it looks for a peaceful solution.

    On Tuesday, ECOWAS Defense Chiefs of Staff will review a statement prepared by officials from the United Nations, African Union (AU), ECOWAS and neighboring countries, following five days of talks in Bamako.

    The strategic concept

    ECOWAS special representative to Mali, Aboudou Chaka Toure, said those talks were about finalizing the "strategic concept" for the military intervention and getting everyone on the same page.

    He said officials reviewed the operational plans prepared by Mali and ECOWAS, and made adjustments so that everyone is comfortable with the plan. He said international partners drafted a strategic statement on what they agreed to be the objectives for the intervention and what each partner could contribute to the effort.

    Toure said that ECOWAS defense chiefs, as well as the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council, will review and amend that intervention plan before it is presented to African heads of state Sunday at an African Union summit in Abuja.

    ECOWAS and the AU have until November 26 to present a detailed plan for the regional intervention to the U.N. Security Council.

    ECOWAS also continues to push Malian armed groups to break ties with al-Qaida and foreign jihadists, and come to the negotiating table.

    A delegation from the Malian Islamist sect, Ansar Dine, is in Ouagadougou and is expected to meet with Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore, who is leading ECOWAS mediation efforts.

    Narrowing down the options

    Mali Foreign Affairs Minister Tieman Coulibaly met Saturday with Compaore.

    Coulibaly said the international framework to deal with the crisis is being put in place as they weigh the options, either political dialogue, which he said is the preferred option, or military action to rid the region of terrorists.

    Ansar Dine is one of four armed groups active in northern Mali. The head of the Ansar Dine delegation, Alghabass Ag Intalla, told a VOA reporter in Ouagadougou the group is "ready to negotiate."

    Burkina Faso Foreign Affairs Minister Djibril Bassole told reporters ECOWAS' position has not changed.

    Ansar Dine, he said, must distance itself from terrorism and organized crime.  He said Malian armed groups who voluntarily or involuntarily allied themselves with terrorist groups must clearly cut those ties, so that Mali can reunite and elections can be held throughout the country. But he said these negotiations would not in any way present an obstacle to the use of force. Force will be needed, he said, to deal with the terrorist groups who have also taken over this territory.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora