Chiefs of Army Staff of ECOWAS in Abidjan on Friday advised governments in the sub-region to deploy peacekeepers to Mali to contain the crisis in the North of the country.
The Northern region of Mali was thrown into crisis in January by Taureg rebels, who are demanding autonomy for their nomadic desert tribe.
Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff, Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the decision was reached based on the growing humanitarian crisis in the country.
“We agreed to return to our countries and advise our governments on the need to send peacekeepers to Mali,” Petinrin said.
He said the chiefs of army staff also agreed on an intervention plan in the Gulf of Guinea, where pirates have continually launched attacks.
Petinrin said the meeting deliberated on the Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria and the outlook on security in West Africa.
Earlier, after a meeting with the Ivorian President, Mr Alassane Ouattara, the Ivorian Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Soumaila Bakayoko, gave an indication that ECOWAS would intervene in Mali.
Bakayoko, who chairs the ECOWAS Chief of Army Staff meeting, said the humanitarian situations in Mali and the Gulf of Guinea were unbearable.
Attacks by Taureg rebels in Northern Mali have resulted in the loss of lives and increase in the number of refugees across West Africa.