News / Africa

ECOWAS Team to Investigate Fighting in Mali

Heads of state and members of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) pose for a photograph after attending the 39th ECOWAS Summit in Nigeria's capital Abuja (file photo).
Heads of state and members of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) pose for a photograph after attending the 39th ECOWAS Summit in Nigeria's capital Abuja (file photo).

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, communications director for ECOWAS

Peter Clottey

An official of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said a fact-finding mission is scheduled to arrive in Mali’s capital, Bamako, Thursday to ascertain the extent of the security and humanitarian problems caused by fighting.

“The team comprises an officer of the ECOWAS standby force, a political affairs specialist and a humanitarian affairs specialist,” said Sonny Ugoh, communications director for ECOWAS, “because we want to holistically look at the issues of security, politics and issues of the humanitarian challenges arising from the [conflict].”

The U.N. refugee agency said at least 22,000 people in northern Mali linked to a Tuareg rebellion have fled to neighboring countries to avoid the fighting.  The U.N. body estimates 10,000 people have arrived in Niger, with many sleeping out in the open.  It estimated that another 9,000 fled to Mauritania and 3,000 more to Burkina Faso.

The rebels launched a new rebellion on January 17th clashing with government forces in several northern towns.

Ugoh said the sub-regional bloc’s team’s report will determine the organization’s next line of action to help contain the security and humanitarian crisis.

“[They] will get a sense of the reality on the ground… and then be able to make an assessment as to what has happened and how we need to respond,” said Ugoh. “We will also talk to the stakeholders, as much as possible, so that we are able to come to a reasonable sense of the reality on the ground.”

The sub-regional bloc’s mission report and recommendations are expected to be presented to ECOWAS’ Immigration and Security Council, which consists of foreign ministers of member countries in the region.  The ministers are scheduled to deliberate on the report at their meeting scheduled for February 15th to find ways of resolving the security and humanitarian challenges Mali faces.

“We expect that instructions will come from the meeting as to how best we can respond to the crisis,” said Ugoh.

Ugoh said ECOWAS is encouraging the government to engage the Tuareg rebels to resolve the ongoing crisis.

“It will be in the best interest of the sub-region, and Mali, for the insurgents to dialogue with the government of Mali.  That way their concerns behind the rebellion will be addressed,” said Ugoh. “There is always a virtue in engagement, and I think dialogue will be the best solution as they talk as Malians to address their common problem and find a common way forward without necessarily creating a crisis.”

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid