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Ecowas to send troops after Mali, Guinea-Bissau coups

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by BabuK, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Apr 27, 2012
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
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    West African leaders have agreed to send troops to Mali and Guinea-Bissau following coups in both countries.
    The regional grouping Ecowas said after an emergency summit that it expected both countries to organise presidential elections within the next 12 months.
    Between 500 and 600 troops will be sent immediately to Guinea-Bissau.
    At least 3,000 regional soldiers are ready to go to Mali to support the transitional government's fight against rebels which control the north.
    The BBC's John James at the meeting in Abidjan says no timescale was set for the deployment to Mali, because the leaders were waiting for the Malian government to draw up details of their collaboration.
    It is still unclear which regional countries will contribute to the Ecowas force, and even once ready, it will need financial and logistical outside help before it can be deployed.
    But Ecowas warned the coup leaders in Guinea-Bissau that if they failed to agree to the deployment within 72 hours, they face targeted sanctions.

    A strong response... is more than ever vital so that the region doesn't fall prey to terrorism and international criminality"

    Alassane OuattaraIvorian president
    The troops will provide security during the transition to civilian rule.
    The army took power on April 12, during presidential elections which were expected to elect the current prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior.
    Soldiers say they staged the coup because of alleged plans by Mr Gomes to reduce the size of the army.
    The interim President Raimundo Pereira and Mr Gomes were arrested during the coup in the small West African country, which has become a major staging post for gangs smuggling cocaine from Latin America to Europe.
    No elected leader in nearly 40 years of independence has finished their time in office in the former Portuguese colony.
    Northern rebelsIn Mali, a civilian government has been restored in the south following last month's coup that overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure shortly before he was due to be replaced in elections.

    The government in the capital, Bamako, is struggling to cope with rebels who want to create a separate northern state.
    The current Ecowas chairman, the Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, said the leaders were "confronted by the biggest ever threat to our democracy".
    Speaking at the start of the meeting he said: "A strong response and the commitment of our allies is more than ever vital so that the region doesn't fall prey to terrorism and international criminality."
    There are two main groups behind the rebellion in Mali: The secular National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and Ansar Dine, an Islamist group that has started to impose Sharia in some towns.
    The MNLA is made up partly of Tuareg who had fought in Libya on the side of Col Muammar Gaddafi and returned to Mali after he was killed.
    They complain they have been ignored by the authorities in the south
  2. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Apr 29, 2012
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    Mali coup leader rejects Ecowas troop deployment


    Capt Sanogo said the military should decide who runs Mali after 40 days

    The leader of last month's coup in Mali has rejected the West African decision to send troops to the country. Captain Amadou Sanago said the military had not been consulted by the regional grouping Ecowas.

    The coup leaders handed power to an interim civilian government earlier this month.

    A meeting between Ecowas mediators and the interim government was disrupted by soldiers shouting "Down with Ecowas" and cocking their guns.

    They only backed down when Capt Sanago left the meeting to tell them to disperse.

    The military leaders are unhappy about Thursday's decision by Ecowas heads of government to send at least 3,000 soldiers to Mali.

    Powerful military

    They agreed to hand over power to a civilian government on the understanding it would hold fresh elections within 40 days.

    But the military is unhappy after Ecowas said the interim government should have up to a year to organise fresh elections.

    Their planned deployment was designed to help secure the transition back to civilian rule, and help the government defeat rebels who now control the northern half of the country.

    Officers led by Capt Sanogo seized power on 22 March, accusing the elected government of not doing enough to halt the rebellion in the northern desert region.

    The country's interim president Dioncounda Traore was at the Ecowas meeting.

    Capt Sanago told reporters after the meeting that it was up to the military to decide what institutions run the country after the end of the 40-day period.

    He did not make clear whether elections would then be held.

    The BBC's John James in neighbouring Ivory Coast says it seems the coup leaders still exercise considerable power and fear any Ecowas deployment would threaten their position.

    The military leadership said it seized power last month because the previous government had not done enough to combat rebels.