The New Times (Kigali)

23 November 2012

Mali: Nigeria to Send 600 Troops to Mali - Minister

Nigeria will send a total of 600 out of the 3,300 troops pledged by ECOWAS, for deployment to contain rebel militants in Northern Mali, a top government official said on Wednesday.

Minister of State for Defense Olusola Obada said so to a delegation from the United Kingdom led by the representative of the Prime Minister of Britain in the Sahel, Stephen O'Brien, in her office in Abuja.

O'Brien was in Abuja to dialogue with Nigerian leaders on the rising insecurity in the Sahel, especially the crisis in Northern Mali, and to get first hand information on the areas.

The minister said that security in the Sahel region was not just of concern to West Africa but also to the entire international community.

She also regretted that the Sahel region has become home to cells of terrorist organizations who are exporting insecurity not only in Northern Mali but in the sub-region.

She said while the country was aware of the forthcoming elections in Mali, the elections should be held in the whole of Mali and not just a part of the country, thereby necessitating the need to sort out the issue of Northern Mali before the election. - Xinhua

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