'$950m needed' to drive Islamists out of Mali
West African nations would need $950-million in aid to sustain and reinforce a military mission to help fight Islamists in Mali, Ivory Coast Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby said yesterday.
The amount is twice the funds pledged by donor nations to the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States to help bring a multinational African military force of up to 8000 troops to the strife-torn country.
Diby announced at the start of a meeting of foreign ministers in Ecowas that the amount he had in mind took into account "the demands of an asymmetric war or a drawn-out conflict that the narco-terrorists ... could bring about".
This brings "the overall financial estimate to $950-million," he said without giving further details.
At the end of January the international community promised during a conference in Addis Ababa to provide more than $455-million for the African-led International Support Mission to Mali that Ecowas is putting together. Money will also go to the Malian army and humanitarian aid.
At present, 6000 soldiers are due to be deployed as part of the international support mission, as well as 2000 Chadian troops pledged by N'Djamena, which will not be part of the Nigerian-led force but will coordinate its operations with it.