DHAKA: West African leaders have gathered for an emergency summit in the Nigerian capital to plot a military strategy seeking to wrest back control of northern Mali from Islamist groups.
The meeting in Abuja opened on Sunday and is attended by defence ministers from the West African bloc ECOWAS, reports Al Jazeera.
It comes against a backdrop of growing fears over the risks the fighters - some of them with links to al-Qaeda - pose to the region and beyond.
Delegates from the 15-nation ECOWAS are expected to approve a military blueprint that will eventually be sent via the African Union to the UN Security Council for review.
Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian president, told the summit an intervention force was needed to flush out extremists to avoid ‘costly consequences’ for Africa.
‘Nigeria fully supports the recommendations of chiefs of defence staff for an intervention force to be deployed immediately to Mali to help restore order and stability there,’ Jonathan said.
‘This will be consistent with (a) UN resolution authorising the use of force to flush out the rebels and anarchists that have turned the northern part of that country into a lawless zone.’
‘This we must do to avert costly consequences, not only on Mali but on the entire sub-region and Africa in general.’
BDST: 2049 HRS, NOV 11, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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