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Leaders to discuss Nigeria, Mali situation at ECOWAS summit

 Ecowas summit on expediting an African force to come to Mali's aid/AFP

Ecowas summit on expediting an African force to come to Mali’s aid/AFP

ACCRA, May 29 – West African leaders will meet this week in Accra in an emergency summit to discuss regional security issues, including the situation in Mali and Nigeria, the spokesman for Ghana’s president said Wednesday.

The leaders will discuss “not just specifically Boko Haram but also the issues of the terrorist situation and threat in Nigeria, they could be part of the whole range of issues under the (summit’s) banner of peace and security,” the spokesman Ben Malor told AFP.

He added that the security situation in northern Mali is also among issues that are expected to raised during the meeting on Friday.

Mali descended into crisis in January 2012, when Tuareg separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) launched the latest in a string of Tuareg insurgencies in the north, which the army was ill-equipped to defend.

A subsequent coup in Bamako led to chaos, and militants linked to Al-Qaeda overpowered the Tuareg to seize control of Mali’s northern desert.

A French-led military operation launched in January 2013 ousted the extremists, but sporadic attacks have continued and the Tuareg demand for autonomy has not been resolved.

In Nigeria, the April 14 mass abduction of schoolgirls by Boko Haram Islamist group in Chibok town in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state has spurred worldwide outrage and offers of military aid from foreign nations including France, Britain and China.

The United States has also deployed 80 troops to Nigeria’s neighbour Chad as part of the mission to locate the girls — some 219 of whom remain missing.

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