ECOWAS determined to deploy forces to Mali, Guinea Bissau
As preparations are being finalized for the deployment of a 3,000-strong ECOWAS force to Mali and Guinea Bissau, the sub-regional Chiefs of Defence Staff will be meeting on Monday 14 May in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
Nigeria and Burkina Faso are expected to send troops to Guinea Bissau, where a junta has been in power since April 12, despite calls by ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) for them to quit.
A new President of the National Assembly, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo has taken over in Bissau.
An ECOWAS press statement issued at the weekend said Monday’s meeting “is in continuation of preparations for the deployment of ECOWAS Mission to both countries as mandated by regional Heads of State and Government at their summit held in Dakar, Senegal on 3rd May 2012.”
It said the one-day meeting would consider modalities for the deployment of troops to Guinea Bissau and Mali as part of the region’s response to the increased security challenges in the region.
Mali’s junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo had spoken against the deployment of any foreign troops in the country and said what Mali needed was logistical and financial support to fight the rebel insurgency in the north of the country.
Full text of ECOWAS press statement below:
“Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS Member States, the heads of the gendarmerie and police forces from Burkina Faso and Nigeria whose troops will be deployed in Guinea Bissau, the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Guinea Bissau and the Force Commander of the ECOWAS Mission to Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) will attend the meeting.
They will be updated on the logistic preparations to support the deployments, preparations for the deployment in Guinea Bissau as well as on the situation in Mali following the overthrow of the government of democratically-elected President Amadou Toumani Toure in the coup of 22nd March 2012. The meeting will also be briefed on the current status of the separatist rebellion in the north of Mali.
They will specifically consider issues relating to force generation for ECOWAS Mission to Mali and the units proposed for the reconstituted force of 3,000 troops.
In addition, the Force Commander of the ECOWAS Mission to Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) will make various presentations to the committee on the force.
The meeting coincides with the military equipment exhibition organized by the Nigeria Armed Forces, and at the instance of their Nigerian counterpart, the Chiefs of Defence Staff will participate in the air and equipment show which will take place in Kaduna on Tuesday, 15th May 2012.“