A Nigerian Major General will head the Mali mission.
Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, at the weekend endorsed the appointment of Shehu Usman Abdulkadir and Yaye Garba, as commander and deputy respectively of the
African-led joint military mission in Mali.
The appointments of Mr. Abdulkadir, a Major General in the Nigerian Army; and Mr. Garba, a Nigerien Brigadier General, were confirmed during the extraordinary session of the body in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on Saturday.
The meeting, convened under the chairmanship of the Ivorien President, Alassane Ouattara, was to review the latest political and security developments in Mali, particularly modalities for the accelerated deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali, AFISMA, to curb the deteriorating security situation in the north of Mali.
The Summit, which also reviewed the latest political and security developments in Guinea Bissau, was also to allow the leaders agree on additional measures to be taken, particularly how the region can work with the international community, to resolve the crisis within the context of the UN Security Council Resolution 2085 of December 2012.
The meeting, which received briefings from the ECOWAS Commission President, Kadré Ouédraogo, and the regional mediators on the Mali crisis, consisting of Presidents Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, expressed deep concern about the gravity of the security situation and the impact on the unity and territorial integrity of Mali as well as on regional and international peace and security.
The leaders, who re-affirmed their commitments to assist Mali to resolve its security and institutional crisis, said they were grateful to France for launching operations to halt the advance of the terrorist and extremist groups, to pave the way for the implementation of Resolution 2085 (2012).
While hailing Benin, Burkina-Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Togo for the deployment of their troops, the leaders welcomed the decision by Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, and Sierra Leone to contribute to the contingent of AFISMA.
The summit directed the ECOWAS Commission President to intensify consultations with the Malian government, the African Union, AU, and the United Nations, UN, on the speedy establishment of a Joint Coordination Mechanism on Resolution 2085 to facilitate regular consultations on political leadership, resource mobilisation, reporting, monitoring and evaluation.
Other resolutions during the meeting include request to the UN to provide immediate logistical and financial support for the deployment of AFISMA pending a UN Security Council decision on a UN logistical support package, consistent with UNSC Resolution 2085 (2012); while urging ECOWAS President to consult with the AU to convene a donor conference for the mobilisation of financial, material and logistical resources for AFISMA.
The ECOWAS Commission was directed to take steps to strengthen the human resource and operational capacities of the Office of the Special Representative in Mali, and to ensure the deployment of a robust civilian component within the framework of AFISMA.
The leaders approved a special waiver to the ECOWAS Commission for the recruitment of additional staff as well as the recruitment of essential staff to the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, to further enhance its capacities in the face of the new political and security challenges facing the region.
The meeting underscored the need for the ECOWAS standby force to be strengthened and pre-positioned for rapid deployment to face challenges that could arise in the region.