ECOWAS orders immediate troops deployment to Mali

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS has ordered an immediate deployment of troops to Mali, following what it calls the ''serious deterioration'' of the situation in the West African nation.

''The Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, in light of the urgency of the situation, has decided to authorise the immediate deployment of ECOWAS troops within the AFISMA framework. Measures will be taken to implement this decision,'' the ECOWAS Commission said in a statement made available to PANA in Abuja on Saturday.

The African-led International Support Mission for Mali (AFISMA) was approved by the UN Security Council in December 2012. The council, in a unanimous vote, also demanded efforts toward political reconciliation, elections and the training of the army.

The decision to immediately send in the troops followed the resurgence of fighting by the rebel groups, who have seized the northern part of Mali since last year. In the latest fighting, the groups have captured Konna in the Mopti Region.

The ECOWAS Commission deplored the serious deterioration of the crisis, especially with the efforts being made to find a political solution to the separatist crisis in the West African nation.

The ECOWAS Mediation, headed by President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, had invited the parties to a dialogue on 10 January.

''In these grave circumstances, the ECOWAS Commission reiterates the Community’s commitment to support the Government and People of Mali to preserve Mali’s territorial integrity and combat terrorism,'' the statement quoted ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Ouedraogo to have said.

The Commission warned that anyone who hampers the transition process and the decisions of the International Community would be liable to targeted sanctions.  
-0- PANA SEG/MA 12Jan2013

12 january 2013 11:59:01

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