Ban says 11 200 troops needed for Mali
27 March 2013, 13:32
New York – The UN leader Ban Ki-Moon said on Tuesday that up
to 11 200 troops could be needed for a peacekeeping mission in Mali but that a
"parallel" military force would have to battle radical Islamists.
Ban said in a report to the UN Security Council that the 11 200
troops would only be enough to cover main towns "assessed to be at highest
The UN leader added that there would be a "fundamental
requirement for a parallel force" in Mali and possibly neighbouring
countries - in a clear signal that France will have to maintain a strong
military involvement in the conflict.
Without naming any provider, Ban said the second force would
"conduct major combat and counter-terrorism operations and provide
specialist support beyond the scope of the United Nations mandate and
France sent troops to Mali in January to prevent an advance
by Islamist forces on the capital Bamako. The Islamists and Tuareg separatists
overran northern Mali one year ago, taking advantage of a vacuum left after a
Having been beaten out of Timbuktu and other Malian cities,
the Islamists have now launched guerrilla operations against French, Chadian
and Malian forces.
"Terrorist groups and tactics, the proliferation of
weapons, improvised explosive devices, unexploded ordnance and landmines are
expected to pose significant threats" in Mali, Ban warned in his report to
be discussed by the Security Council on Wednesday.
France wants the 15-member council to pass a resolution in
April setting up a peacekeeping force which could be in place by July. The bulk
of it would come from West African troops already in Mali.