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US Africom ready to consider requests for Mali intervention support

Published: November 14, 2012
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Source: RFI

Africom emblemUS Africom is expecting to be asked to provide support for West African military intervention in northern Mali, a top US General said on Wednesday. According to US intelligence, any military intervention force will encounter an estimated 800-1200 “hardcore” fighters.

“It won’t be a surprise to us,” says US Africa Command General Carter Ham. “It’s likely that they’ll ask us for some assistance in intelligence. It’s likely they will ask us for some help in logistics, equipping the force.”

Ham says they are ready to “seriously consider” any requests. Although nothing specific has been asked for yet. He expects those discussions to take place when Ecowas [Economic Community of West African States] presents its plan for military invention to the UN Security Council.

The head of the US Africa Command says their intelligence from the region is “imperfect”. But they estimate there are between 800-1200 “hardcore” fighters in northern Mali as well as “supporting entities and sympathisers”.

The African Union has backed the Ecowas plan to send 3,300 troops into northern Mali. It will be discussed by the UN Security Council before the end of the year.

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