20 January 2013

West Africa: Ecowas Urges UN Aid for Mali Force

Photo: Claire Soares/IRIN
Chadian soldiers on the move. (file photo)

Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) appealed for urgent help from the United Nations on Saturday (January 19th) as the regional bloc looks to push back Islamist militants in Mali.

At an emergency summit in Abidjan, ECOWAS called on member-states to put words into action without haste, AFP reported. Only about 100 African soldiers of a planned 5,800-troop African force have so far reached Mali.

A statement at the end of the Abidjan meeting called on the United Nations "to immediately provide financial and logistical backing" for the deployment of the International Mission for Support to Mali (MISMA).

Meanwhile, French and Malian troops continued their counter-attack against al-Qaeda linked Islamists on Sunday, with soldiers entering the towns of Niono and Sevare. France said Saturday that it now has more than 2,000 troops on the ground in Mali.

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