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Boly Hamidou: African leaders must step up efforts on Mali conflict

The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Permanent Representative to Mali, Boly Hamidou has called on African leaders to step up their efforts and strategies to tackle the conflict in Mali.

He said the crisis in Mali was serious and could affect other African countries and thus leaders of the region have to rethink their strategies in combating the crisis and improving peace and security in the country.

Mr Hamidou, who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Friday after the closing of the maiden ‘Inter Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms Peace and Security Forum: Policy Dialogue on Mali Experience’, said “more actions than talk are needed to tackle the conflict in Mali.”

The five-day programme brought  experts from the African Union (AU), ECOWAS, peace and security non-governmental organisations in the region such as West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP),  and state organisations such as the Peace Council in Ghana to fashion out strategies to deal with the peace crisis in Mali.

Mr Hamidou observed that “the political crisis in Mali is an African problem and will need Africa solutions to tackle the menace instead of solution from the West,  Africa and  ECOWAS has expertise to deal with crisis in Mali and what is needed is a rethink of our strategy.

“ECOWAS has successfully dealt with political crisis in Guinea Bissau The Gambia, can also work to help bring peace and activities of insurgents in Mali under control, in 2012, ECOWAS was at driving seat in dealing with problem in Mali, but currently there are many actors thus there is the need for ECOWAS to re-strategise on how it can deal with conflict in Mali,” Mr Hamidou stressed.

Asked what strategies would help address the crisis in Mali, the ECOWAS Permanent Representative to Mali mentioned both dialogue and military approach.

A Senior Political Officer at the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Department, Mayah Ngala contributing to the interview said the AU Mission in Mali had been supporting efforts to bring peace and stability to Mali.

She said the AU was convinced that African problems should be solved by Africans and it was in that direction that the AU was leading the forum for solutions to be found to the crisis in Mali.

By Kingsley Asare

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