23-10-2018 01:06 PM Jerusalem Timing

African Leaders Call for Global Intervention in Mali

African Leaders Call for Global Intervention in Mali

West African leaders Saturday called for greater international involvement in Mali as they met to speed up the deployment of regional troops to boost a French-backed offensive against al-Qaeda-linked groups in the African country.

West African leaders Saturday called for greater international involvement in Mali as they met to speed up the deployment of regional troops to boost a French-backed offensive against al-Qaeda-linked groups in the African country.African leaders meeting

The emergency summit in Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan was also attended by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius who clearly said it was time for the Africans to take over and "as soon as possible", adding that this was "the aim of our meeting."

"France was obliged to intervene very, very rapidly, otherwise there would have been no more Mali," Fabius said on his arrival in Abidjan. "But it is well understood that it is the Africans that must pick up the baton."

France said Saturday it had 2,000 of the 2,500 troops it had pledged on the ground in Mali, amid fears that the vast arid north which the rebels control could become a haven for Islamist militants and threaten security both in the region and overseas.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who is also current head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc, said it was high time other countries did their bit in Mali.

"The hour has come for a broader commitment by the major powers and more countries and organisations to the military operations to show greater solidarity with France and Africa in the total and multi-faceted war against terrorism in Mali," said Quattara at the starMalian troopst of the meeting.

ON GROUND
Malian soldiers, backed by French troops and air power, retook the key central town of Konna on Thursday from Al-Qaeda-linked rebels who had swooped down more than a week ago from their northern stronghold and threatened the capital Bamako .

There were conflicting reports on another town Diabaly, which the Malian army claimed was recaptured but this was effectively denied by the French defense ministry.

On Saturday Malian troops said they were poised to enter Diabaly, about 400 kilometers north of Bamako.
"The enemy has fled and we are ready to enter," Colonel Kaba Sangare told AFP. "We are simply awaiting orders."