Mali rebels’ move serious threat to int’l peace--says ECOWAS
The sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS has strongly condemned northern Mali rebels’ attempt to create an Islamic State of Azawad, describing the move as “a serious threat to regional and international peace and security.”
Last weekend, the re rebels of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and Ansar Dine rebels announced a merger and the subsequent declaration of Sharia of the north, which has been under their control since last March.
In a statement signed by the ECOWAS Commission’s President, Desire Kadre Ouedraogo, the sub-regional bloc said the rebels’ move is “opportunistic” and would only worsen the plight of the populations already suffering atrocities and deprivation in the occupied Malian territory.
ECOWAS restated that it “will never compromise” on Mali’s territorial integrity and it “does not recognize the so-called declaration of independence” of Azawad.
The statement further stressed that the ECOWAS Commission was determined to take all necessary measures to prevent northern Mali from descending “into a zone of lawlessness for terrorists and other criminal networks.”
However, the 15-member sub-regional boy has reiterated its offer for a negotiated settlement to what it called any genuine grievances, in order to reestablish Mali’s unity and territorial integrity.