12 November 2012

Nigeria: Jonathan Backs Deployment of Troops to Mali

Photo: William Lloyd-George/IPS
Malian refugees.

The Nigerian government has said that it fully supports immediate deployment of an intervention force to flush out the rebel forces in northern Mali.

President Goodluck Jonathan said this on the occassion of the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government of the political crises in Mali and Guinea Bissau in Abuja, yesterday.

President Jonathan who is also the ECOWAS associate mediator on Mali said that Nigeria supports the recommendation of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Staff to deploy troops to the troubled West African country to help restore order and stability there.

"This would be consistent with the United Nations Security Council resolution authorising the use f force to flush out the rebels and anarchists that have turned large portions of the country into a lawless zone," he said.

He added that the decision on the modalities to tackle the menace in Mali have to be fast to avert costly consequences, not only on Mali but on the entire sub-region and Africa in general.

As regards the situation in Guinea Bissau, Jonathan said the crisis requires a multi-dimensional approach, including the injection of funds to stabilise the polity. "Our goal here, as in Mali, is the total restoration of constitutional order, we must do all we can to ensure that the interim administration in Guinea Bissau is stable, respected and is able to carry out her basic administrative functions and keep the state afloat," he said.

Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, Said Djinnit in his address, said the summit is consistent with the two-track approach strategic concept for Mali as envisioned by the United Nations Security Council in its resolution 2071(2012) of negotiations and preparations for the deployment of an international force with a view to help Mali recover its territorial integrity and unity.

He said the operations which were endorsed on Friday by the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council have been submitted to the authority of the heads of state for approval.

ECOWAS president Kadre Desire Ouedraogo in his address said "the urgent need to halt the mafia and criminal practices of terrorist groups and the atrocities committed with impunity by the extremists requires a strong mobilisation on behalf of Mali".

At the time of filing this report, the ECOWAS heads of states and major stakeholders were in a closed door session to map out modalities on how to deploy troops to confront the Malian rebels.

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