Mali says it does not seek deployment of African forces into the country, but wants logistical support from the West African bloc to get back its territories from Tuareg fighters in the north. In a letter to the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS), Mali interim President Dioncounda Traore requested "help from ECOWAS to recover occupied territories in the north and the fight against terrorism.” "However the deployment of a constituted police unit or combatant military troops is not applicable," read the letter.
Traore urged its neighbors to assist in "the reorganization of armed forces and security" in terms of training, equipment and logistical support.In January 2012, Tuareg fighters in the north of the country revolted against former President Amadou Toumani Toure, demanding an independent homeland. Moreover, Mali plunged into turmoil after a military coup against Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22. The Malian coup leader, Amadou Haya Sanogo, said Toure’s government had not done enough in the military campaign against separatist Tuareg rebels in the north. However, in the wake of the coup, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region. Meanwhile, Benin President Boni Yayi said the West African bloc is set to hold an emergency meeting on Mali to put an end to the ongoing crisis in the country’s north. "There will soon be an extraordinary ECOWAS meeting to listen to military chiefs of staff on the intervention strategy," Yayi said during a joint press conference with visiting Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama. AO/MA