News / Africa

    ECOWAS Seeks UN Mandate to Deploy Troops

    The president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, speaks during ECOWAS talks on Mali on July 7, 2012, in Ouagadougou. The president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, speaks during ECOWAS talks on Mali on July 7, 2012, in Ouagadougou.
    x
    The president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, speaks during ECOWAS talks on Mali on July 7, 2012, in Ouagadougou.
    The president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, speaks during ECOWAS talks on Mali on July 7, 2012, in Ouagadougou.
    Peter Clottey
    The Economic Community of West African States is seeking a U.N. Security Council mandate as regional defense chiefs gather to finalize plans to send peacekeeping troops to Mali, where Islamist militants control the north.

    The defense chiefs meetings Friday and Saturday are to be held in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan.

    "We have always sought U.N. mandate for two basic reasons,” said ECOWAS communications director, Sonny Ugoh. “One, the fact that the environment that we have in the north of Mali requires that mandate. Two, we believe that through that mandate, we should be able to get the international support that will manifest in the area particularly of logistics to support the force, and in order to make it much more robust, and much more effective in dealing with the challenge we have in the north of Mali.”
                      
    Some Malians have expressed concern about initial reports of confusion over whether the government had invited ECOWAS to deploy its standby force.

    But Ugoh said Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who heads the regional bloc, has received an official invitation letter from Mali’s interim President Dioncounda Traoré.

    ECOWAS protocol stipulates that a standby force can be deployed after a formal request is made by a member state of the bloc.

    Ugoh said the defense chiefs’ meeting forms part of ECOWAS’s effort to end the rebellion in northern Mali.

    "The chief of defense staff of member states will finalize the roadmap for a deployment, so that we will be in a position to be ready to deploy as soon as we get the required UN mandate,” Ugoh said.

    ECOWAS has said it is ready to deploy a force of about 3,000 troops to northern Mali, where Islamist rebels are trying to impose a harsh form of Sharia, or Islamic law.

    The rebels seized control of the area in April after renegade soldiers overthrew the elected government in Bamako.

    “The whole idea of this finalization of the roadmap is for the region to be in a position to be able to deploy as expeditiously as possible [and] as soon as this mandate from the U.N. Security Council is [obtained],” said Ugoh.

    He admits that both Mali and ECOWAS lost valuable time in resolving the security crisis in the West African country.  Islamist groups reportedly linked to al-Qaida now control about two-thirds of Mali's national territory.

    The Islamists, along with Tuareg separatists, seized control of the north in April after the coup in Bamako.  Since then, the militant groups Ansar Dine and MUJAO have pushed out the separatists and moved to enforce a strict version of Islamic law.

    “This situation has lingered on for so long and we want to resolve it as quickly as possible. But, we have to make sure that all the prior processes are resolved,” said Ugoh. “And from our point of view, the last requirement is to have the U.N. mandate so that we can deploy under the U.N. umbrella.”

    ECOWAS says the first phase of the deployment would provide security for officials and institutions of Mali's transitional government.  It says the second phase calls for ECOWAS to train Mali's army and support its effort to recapture the north.

    Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS official
    Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS official i
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Daya
    September 13, 2012 11:59 PM
    Which ECOWAS countries are are to deploy troops in Mali
    Hope they have done alot of forward planning also for Zimbabwe when the day comes mmmmmm along with the UN mmmmmmm
    and other Countries, you know who I mean?

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora