News / Africa

Defense Officials Try to Rush African Troops to Mali

ECOWAS Chiefs of Staff are seen during an Extraordinary meeting of ECOWAS on the crisis in Mali, in Abidjan, January 26, 2013.
ECOWAS Chiefs of Staff are seen during an Extraordinary meeting of ECOWAS on the crisis in Mali, in Abidjan, January 26, 2013.
Defense officials from the West African regional body ECOWAS met in Abidjan on Saturday to discuss options for expediting the deployment of more African troops to Mali. Though some African troops have already arrived, officials acknowledge that they require training and funding.

Ivory Coast Defense Minister Paul Koffi Koffi said Saturday that nearly 1,000 African troops were already in Mali, not just in the capital Bamako but “throughout the entire country.”

ECOWAS has been discussing plans to send roughly 3,000 troops to the landlocked country ever since Islamists took over its northern half following a coup last March.

The U.N. Security Council in December approved an ECOWAS deployment for September of this year, but deployment plans were fast-tracked after the Islamists made a push toward Bamako earlier this month, prompting French forces to intervene.

The French have so far taken the lead on the military intervention, with some assistance from Mali’s army. But French leaders have stressed that African forces will need to take the lead.
 
Koffi Koffi said ECOWAS officials were determined to make that happen as soon as possible.

He says “What is at stake here is crucial, for it involves confirming the various elements that were identified but also, and more especially, to make the commitment that in the shortest time possible men will be deployed on the ground.” He says “Following that we should also clearly identify needs, particularly logistical support, and to see to what extent such logistical support can be deployed on the ground.”

Also present at Saturday’s meeting was Nigerian General, Shehu Usman Abdulkadir, who was named commander of the African intervention force during a meeting of ECOWAS heads of state one week ago.

Abdulkadir told reporters he believed the buildup of troops was progressing satisfactorily, though he declined to say when they would all arrive. "I can’t tell you when the deadline will be but I want to ensure the international community that the buildup has continued and some troops from troop-contributing countries have been deployed," he said.

He also said he did not believe there would be trouble coordinating the African troops, which will come from a mix of English speaking and French speaking countries.

"It’s very wonderful. It’s encouraging. Right now the Burkinabes are operating on the same axis as the French. So the issue of difference is not there. We have a common problem and we’re going to approach it with the professionalism that the military is known for," Abdulkadir stated.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid