News / Africa

Regional Defense Chiefs to Meet Over Mali Crisis

A public transport minibus is stopped by Malian soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance to Markala, approximately 40 km outside Segou on the road to Diabaly, in central Mali, Jan. 14, 2013.A public transport minibus is stopped by Malian soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance to Markala, approximately 40 km outside Segou on the road to Diabaly, in central Mali, Jan. 14, 2013.
x
A public transport minibus is stopped by Malian soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance to Markala, approximately 40 km outside Segou on the road to Diabaly, in central Mali, Jan. 14, 2013.
A public transport minibus is stopped by Malian soldiers at a checkpoint at the entrance to Markala, approximately 40 km outside Segou on the road to Diabaly, in central Mali, Jan. 14, 2013.
Peter Clottey
West African defense chiefs plan to meet in Mali’s capital, Bamako, Tuesday as part of a regional effort to re-take parts of northern Mali now controlled by Islamist militants.

“It is intended to enable the region [to] take a decision on the basis of the evolving situation in Mali,” said ECOWAS communications director Sonny Ugoh. 

He said the defense chiefs want to determine what needs to be done “to ensure that the regional troops that are going to Mali to support the Malian armed forces to defend the territorial integrity of the country, are in good shape."

Ugoh says the meeting was scheduled in Bamako so the defense chiefs can get a better feel for the ongoing conflict in northern Mali. 

“This is just to give a sense of solidarity with their colleagues from Mali and to be on the ground to have a sense of feel of what is going on in Mali vis-à-vis the situation in the north,” said Ugoh.

He says the defense chiefs meeting comes before a heads of state summit scheduled for Saturday.

Ugoh’s comments came after the Islamist militants advanced southward, seizing the town of Diabaly, about 400 kilometers north of Bamako.

ECOWAS plans to send about 3,000 troops to Mali. Ugoh says the soldiers will soon be able to help Mali’s national army defeat the Islamist militants.

“A force commander from Nigeria has already been appointed for the African-led force for Mali. And the sense we get is that from Tuesday, the troops from those countries that are making a contribution, their troops will begin to arrive. So between Tuesday and Wednesday, we will begin to see boots on the ground,” said Ugoh.

He says proposals from the defense chiefs will be presented to the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council.

Meanwhile, officials from the Mediation and Security Council plan to meet Friday at Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. That meeting, Ugoh says, will discuss critical issues on maintaining regional peacekeeping and stability as well as the conflict in Mali. It also comes on the eve of the heads of state meeting, Saturday in Abidjan.

Ugoh says proposals from the Mediation and Security Council will be presented to the heads of state to make a final decision on the way forward in Mali.

Critics have accused ECOWAS of failing to act ahead of time in Mali, which they contend allowed the militants to take more territory in northern Mali and threaten Bamako. Ugoh disagreed.

“Regional leaders have asked member countries to deploy immediately in order to support Mali to defend its territorial integrity, defend the capital from this onslaught and secure the country. I think they have acted as responsibly as the situation requires,” he said.

Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS Communications director
Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS Communications director i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid