Mali Coalition Protests Proposed ECOWAS Troop Deployment

by ptinti

Voice of America

BAMAKO, MALI — Hundreds marched in the Malian capital of Bamako on Friday at Liberty Plaza to protest the proposed deployment of troops from West African bloc ECOWAS to Mali. The troops, if they come, would be used to retake northern Mali from al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants who seized control of the region in April.

The coalition COPAM, which backs the military junta that overthrew Mali’s government in March, organized the protest following an agreement earlier this week between Mali’s interim government and ECOWAS.

The agreement leaves open the possibility for ECOWAS troops to be based just outside the capital as part of a broader plan to help retake the country’s north. Northern Mali fell to Islamist militants in the chaos that followed the coup on March 22 in Bamako.

ECOWAS’ role in mediating the post-coup political crisis, as well as the prospect of foreign troops in the capital, has been unpopular among certain segments of the Malian public.

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