From Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may have decided to deploy its military force to assist Mali in combating the rising menace of rebels in its northern region.
ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council has recommended for adoption by regional leaders, the report of the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff for the possible deployment of a regional force that will assist Mali secure its territorial integrity and undertake peacekeeping and related operations.
According to a statement from the ECOWAS Commission yesterday in Abuja, the deployment of forces to Mali forms part of a strategic approach being pursued by the region to end the rebellion by separatist groups in northern Mali, notably the Taureg rebels.
The statement explained that the council had at an extra-ordinary meeting in Abidjan on Thursday, decided that its regional force will be deployed if dialogue being brokered by the appointed regional mediator, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, fails to yield desired results.
It stated that the report of the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff at their meeting on April 5 had specified the form and mandate of the force, as well as modalities for its deployment, proposals for designating the force commander and the contribution of troops and logistics.