Mali’s putschist leader rejects ECOWAS personnel in fight to reclaim north

Captain Amadou Sanogo, the leader of the besmirched coup in Mali, announced on Monday that he will maintain relevance in deciding how the nation is run through the transitional period ahead, and that he does not want foreign forces on the ground to help reclaim Mali’s north from the Tuareg (MNLA) and militant Islamist factions, namely Ansar Dine and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, that have staked a claim in Azawad.

Captain Sanogo addressed Mali over the television in Bamako, the capital, according to an AP report, asking Mali’s ECOWAS partners for equipment and logistical aid.

ECOWAS, the Economic Organization of West African States, has been preparing a force of roughly 3,000 troops to be deployed to northern Mali to combat the Tuareg’s independence movement as well as the militant Islamist factions that have mired the situation.

His claims come days after signing an agreement with the west African bloc that is supposed to return Mali to constitutional rule, and a new civilian president is due to be sworn in this week.

But Sanogo said Monday that he would decide, with ECOWAS, how the country would be run after the 40 days set out in the country’s constitution for a transition of power.

“It was very clear in the framework agreement that after 40 days we would sit down with ECOWAS to decide on another team to lead the transition,” he said.

Additionally, earlier Monday, the Chairman of the Authority of head of states and government of ECOWAS, Mr. Alassane Ouattara, announced that he has lifted with due immediacy the harsh sanctions imposed on Mali with the consent of his peers, according to allAfrica.com.

Mr. Ouattara and ECOWAS also formally denounced the MNLA and their declaration of independence for the nation of Azawad, adding their name to a growing list of nations and economic blocs, including Algeria, France, the United States, the European Union and the African Union. Many outlets in the West are wary of the threat of a possible rogue state and breeding ground for terrorism, and have voiced strong concern over the MNLA’s declaration.

Al Jazeera accurately sums up the Tuareg’s struggle for recognition:

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, whose declaration of independence for a state in the northern two-thirds of Mali has yet to receive any external recognition, says if the US and Saudi Arabia cannot yet find a solution to al-Qaeda threats, how can they be expected to.

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