Malian caretaker president to attend ECOWAS summit in Abidjan

Bamako, Mali (PANA) – Mali’s caretaker president, Dioncounda Traore, is expected in the Ivorian economic capital, Abidjan, where he will attend Saturday's extraordinary summit of  ECOWAS heads of state on the current situation in Mali, official sources told PANA here Friday.

The meeting will focus on additional strategies to deal with the Malian crisis, aggravated by the Islamist groups' advance a week ago towards the south.

The Islamists, in control of northern Mali since April 2012, overrun the town of Konna in the region of Mopti, but a joint French-Malian force recaptured the town on Thursday.

PANA reports that the French and Malian forces, supported by freshly-deployed West African troops, have launched an offensive to retake the town of Diabaly, located 400km from Bamako, the Malian capital.

Reports indicate that the Islamists are using Malian civilians as human shield in Diabaly.

Late on Thursday, the first batch (190) of the 1,200-strong Nigerian contingent and other soldiers from Togo and Burkina Faso landed in Bamako.

Also, several hundred soldiers from Chad left Ndjamena late Wednesday for Niamey from where they will enter Mali.
-0- PANA GT/TBM/PAN/VAO 18Jan2013

18 january 2013 15:35:17

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