African Union head wants NATO to help fight Mali rebels

By Reuters 9 January 2013

The head of the African Union, Benin President Boni Yayi, on Tuesday called for a global coalition that includes NATO to intervene against Islamist rebels in northern Mali. By David Ljunggren.

“My understanding is that in reality when we talk of an international force it’s not just (West African regional group) ECOWAS, it’s not just the African Union, it’s also other forces from outside the African continent, given the seriousness of the situation,” Yayi told a news conference in Ottawa.

Islamist groups have seized the northern two-thirds of Mali, spawning concern that the region could become a center for radical extremists. On Monday, Mali’s army repelled an attack on its advance positions by heavily armed Islamist groups, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.

Islamist fighters who seized control of Mali’s vast desert north in April have advanced towards government positions in the region of Mopti in recent days, sowing fears of a return to fighting after months of uneasy stalemate.

“NATO should join up with our African forces. Our African forces will show the way, I believe, as it was done in many other places, such as Afghanistan … The threat of terrorism is in reality something for the international community to deal with,” Yayi said.

In December, the 15-nation U.N. Security Council unanimously authorized deployment of an African-led military force to help defeat al Qaeda and other Islamist militants in northern Mali.

Yayi spoke after a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said Canada would provide humanitarian aid but was not planning to join the U.N.-sanctioned force.

“Obviously, we are very concerned about the situation,” Harper said. “The development of essentially an entire terrorist region in the middle of Africa is of grave concern to everybody in the international community.” DM

Photo: Militiaman from the Ansar Dine Islamic group, who said they had come from Niger and Mauritania, ride on a vehicle at Kidal in northeastern Mali, June 16, 2012. REUTERS/Adama Diarra


Are You A South AfriCAN or a South AfriCAN'T?

Maverick Insider is more than a reader revenue scheme. While not quite a "state of mind", it is a mindset: it's about believing that independent journalism makes a genuine difference to our country and it's about having the will to support that endeavour.

From the #GuptaLeaks into State Capture to the Scorpio exposés into SARS, Daily Maverick investigations have made an enormous impact on South Africa and it's political landscape. As we enter an election year, our mission to Defend Truth has never been more important. A free press is one of the essential lines of defence against election fraud; without it, national polls can turn very nasty, very quickly as we have seen recently in the Congo.

If you would like a practical, tangible way to make a difference in South Africa consider signing up to become a Maverick Insider. You choose how much to contribute and how often (monthly or annually) and in exchange, you will receive a host of awesome benefits. The greatest benefit of all (besides inner peace)? Making a real difference to a country that needs your support.


Please or create an account to view the comments. To join the conversation, sign up as a Maverick Insider.


The impact of Nenegate: No, You can’t simply pick up a plunging rand

By Jessica Bezuidenhout

"Man is by nature a political animal" ~ Aristotle