West African countries plan to mobilize 3,300 soldiers to fight against Islamist rebels Mali 2001131

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French Armed Forces Operation Serval in Mali

 
 
Sunday, January 20, 2013, 09:57 AM
 
West African countries plan to mobilize 3,300 soldiers to fight against Islamist rebels in Mali.
The fighter aircraft of the French Army have conducted a dozen missions including reconnaissance of Islamist rebels movements and attacks against ground targets in the region of Diabali. French soldiers are deployed in Markala to protect the way to the Malian capital and ban access to any infiltration of armed Islamist rebels.
     
The fighter aircraft of the French Army have conducted a dozen missions including reconnaissance of Islamist rebels movements and attacks against ground targets in the region of Diabali. French soldiers are deployed in Markala to protect the way to the Malian capital and ban access to any infiltration of armed Islamist rebels.
Malian soldiers secure the area by French Mirage 2000D war planes at the Mali air force base near Bamako as troops await their deployment January 18, 2013. (Source FlickR Eric Gaillard)
     

With the French military action in Mali now in its second week, Malian troops are continuing to battle against Islamist militants.

At a military camp in the central Mopti region, Malian troops prepared weapons and military vehicles for the fight against the rebels. France says it started its attacks as it became clear that the rebels could break Mali’s military defences in Mopti.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Saturday that France has 2,000 troops on the ground in Mali to fight against the Islamist rebels from the northern region.

With the help of the French troops, the Malian government forces have retaken the town of Konna, but the situation is more confused in Diabali, about 360 km northeast of Bamako.

     
Nigerian soldiers walk at the Mali air force base near Bamako as troops await their deployment January 19, 2013.
Nigerian soldiers walk at the Mali air force base near Bamako as troops await their deployment January 19, 2013. The first West African regional forces arrived in Mali on Thursday to reinforce French and Malian troops battling to push back al Qaeda-linked rebels after seven days of French air strikes. (Source FlickR Eric Gaillard)
     
Around 260 soldiers from Nigeria, Togo and Benin arrived in Bamako in the night from Friday to Saturday.

West Africa's main political bloc has called for more international support as it prepares to join the French intervention in Mali. Paris has said that African troops must lead the fight against the Islamists.

Niger, Senegal and Burkina Faso will send 500 soldiers each, Benin 300 men, Guinea 150 and Ghana 120 soldier to the continental forces.

Chad, which is not an ECOWAS member, has promised 2,000 soldiers and Togo agreed to put 540 soldiers to the operations in Mali.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) plans to mobilize a regional force of 3,300 troops with Nigeria’s General Sehy Oumar Abdul Kadry as the Commander and his Deputy Commander will be Yaya Garba from Niger. MISMA (International Mission for Support to Mali)’s Chief of General Staff will be Colonel Jean Paul Ntab from Senegal.
 

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