Abuja — ECOWAS leaders are meeting in Abuja today to validate the harmonised concept of operations for the African-led International Mission in Mali to help that country recover parts of its north taken over by secessionists and terrorists.
Ministers of foreign affairs and defence, under the aegis of the Mediation and Security Council (MSC), had recommended its adoption by regional leaders after considering it during their preceding one-day meeting in Abuja on Friday, November 9, 2012.
The concept was developed by military experts from the region, the African Union, the UN, European Union and partners at a planning meeting held in Mali last week which proposed the enlargement of the size of the force from the original 3,300 troops proposed under the ECOWAS Mission in Mali (MICEMA) and the participation of other African countries.
It was subsequently considered at the November 5, 2012 extraordinary meeting of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS)
Meanwhile, ECOWAS President, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, at the ECOWAS-MSC meeting on Friday, had said a combination of political dialogue with military pressure was being considered to end the activities of extremists in Mali.
He stated that the mafia and criminal practices of terrorist groups and the atrocities they commit required a strong mobilisation on behalf of Mali.
Nigeria's Foreign Minister of State II, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, said the African Union (AU), the UN's Security Council and the international community had recognised that the continued insecurity in the Sahel region portended a great danger to the Africa and the whole world if not properly checked.
"It is evidently clear that these outlaws lost all overtures made for dialogue and have gone wild by attacking historic and UN heritage sites, conscription of children into the militias, kidnappings, proliferation and illicit traffic in arms, drugs and human trafficking and the dispersal of armed groups across borders," Mohammed said.
"This clearly is an unacceptable scenario to the international community and we are ready to work together to bring peace to the region being confronted with challenges," the minister added.