WEST AFRICAN BLOC AGREES ON DEPLOYING 3,300 TROOPS IN MALI..BULK OF THE TROOPS TO COME FROM NIGERIA, NIGER AND BURKINA FASO

AQIM - disliked interlopers

AQIM – disliked interlopers

ABUJA, Nov. 11 (Xinhua)

West African nations agreed on Sunday to deploy 3,300 troops to help recapture northern Mali, which was seized by Islamist extremists more than six months ago, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said.

The agreement, part of battle plans that
will be sent for United Nations approval by the end of this month, was reached at
an extraordinary summit of the bloc in
the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

“We foresee 3,300 soldiers for a
timeframe of one year,” ECOWAS
Chairman Alassane Ouattara, who is also
president of Cote d’Ivorie, told reporters
after the summit. He said the troops would mostly come from Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso, adding that other West African nations and some non-African countries may also contribute to the forces. “We have countries that are offering battalions, others companies,” Ouattara said.

The soldiers could be deployed as soon as the United Nations approves the military plan, drawn up by experts from Africa, the world body and Europe in the Malian capital of Bamako last week.Ouattara said he hoped the approval
could come in late November or early
December, so that the troops could be put in place days afterward.

Mali has been dealing with diverse
security, economic, political and
humanitarian challenges since January
after fighting between government
forces and al-Qaida-linked rebels broke out in the northern part of the country.

The United Nations recently asked the African Union and ECOWAS to produce a detailed plan for a possible military
intervention in northern Mali.

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About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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26 Responses to WEST AFRICAN BLOC AGREES ON DEPLOYING 3,300 TROOPS IN MALI..BULK OF THE TROOPS TO COME FROM NIGERIA, NIGER AND BURKINA FASO

  1. beegeagle says:

    The mix of troops sits well with me. I should like to see the Mauritanians, Algerians, Guineans and Senegalese – all of whom are nextdoor neighbours to Mali getting involved in this mission.

    Niger are really the perfect ally of all the West African countries. They have their own local Tuareg rebellion such as was the takeoff point for the secessionist attempt in Mali. Nigerien troops, with their extensive knowledge of desert warfare in excess of ours, would be priceless pivots on which the desert fighting would be anchored.

    In reality, the big battles shall take place in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal – which means urban warfare and Close Quarter Battles where our Nigerian Army hold the aces with their superior skills and experience in urban warfare – Kano, MDGR, Damaturu, Freetown, Monrovia, Bo, Makeni and Potiskum come to mind.

    Another ace is the fact that with Niger sharing a 90% ethnolinguistic affinity with Northern Nigeria and Hausa being the most widely spoken language in Niger, interoperability is sure to be enhanced.

    It is instructive to note that we have Hausa, Fulani, Zabarmawa(Songhay), Kanuri and Shuwa Arabs as the dominant groups in Northern Nigeria and Niger.

    Moving on, Nigerian, Burkinabe and Nigerien troops could enjoy the advantage of being able to carry out covert operations in the conflict area on account of the fact that there are Songhay and Fulani peoples in Azawad – same way that these groups are found in all three leading troop contributing countries. Niger come to the board with the added advantage of having, like Mali, a Tuareg-dominated North.

    In all, whereas Niger and Burkina are understandably have concerns over insecurity in their nextdoor neighbour’s territorial space, with Niger having additional concerns over a likely spillover of the Tuareg-AQIM factor in Mali into their similarly affected country, Nigeria are committed to this venture on account of the fact that Boko Haram are believed to enjoy the training and logistical support of AQIM and other Malian terrorist groups.

    Indeed, the government of Niger have twice in 2012 apprehended Boko Haram terrorists transiting through Niger enroute Mali.

    Well, I TOLD YA! Ghana are apparently not coming. Perhaps that explains Afua Hirsch’s face-saving and pre-emptive attack on the Nigerian Army for daring to volunteer for the mission. The bottomline of Afua’s face-saving beeline – “Nigeria are going..yeah, but they won’t be going there to fight”

    Utter drivel at high decibel.

    ELSEWHERE, BEEGEAGLE WROTE:

    ” MICEMA are preparing to go to Mali. As of August, which was the last time that I saw ECOWAS defence chiefs on TV news making plans at Abuja for that effort (one which directly impacts Nigeria’s national security interests on account of Malian Islamist-Boko Haram ties), Ghana were not represented. Do not be surprised if they do not turn up in Mali.”

    http://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/nigerian-army-respond-to-afua-hirschs-campaign-of-defamation-and-misinformation-say-we-are-fourth-best-in-global-peacekeeping-most-capable-army-in-this-sub-region/

  2. beegeagle says:

    ELSEWHERE, BEEGEAGLE WROTE:

    http://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/afghan-and-pakistani-jihadists-operating-in-northern-mali-president-issoufou-of-niger-confirms-existence-of-boko-haram-training-base-at-gao/

    Let us restate our belief that for reasons of COMMITMENT to the cause and RESOURCING, Algeria, Niger, Mauritania, Nigeria and perhaps, the armies of Guinea, Senegal and Burkina Faso must see it as their duty to resolve these orgies of buffoonery taking place in AZAWAD.

    Why have I chosen these countries? AQIM cells have be caught active in Algeria, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria. AQIM and their proteges in Ansar Dine actually now occupy the more leafy barracks precincts vacated by the cowardly Malian Army. They are firmly entrenched in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal.
    AQIM have owned up to and have been confirmed by TIME and by the governments of Niger, Mali and Algeria as being technical partners of Boko Haram. Boko Haram have also confirmed this fact.

    The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa are committed to action across northern West Africa and would dance with any criminally minded groups in the region. They have attacked as far north as a gendameries base at Tamanrasset in the deep south of Algeria.

    Boko Haram are involved in the fighting in northeastern Mali and also train their guerrillas there at the hands of AQIM.

    From the foregoing, it is clear that Boko Haram, AQIM, MUJWA and Ansar are on ground in Azawad and are committed to constituting themselves into national security nuisance for all four countries, given the close collaboration between these terrorist groups.

    As for Guinea, Senegal and Burkina Faso, they might not yet be creating major security headaches for these countries but they are NEXTDOOR neighbours to Mali and in a West Africa where peoples of the same religious and ethnic affiliation invariably straddle the borders of nations, it is only a matter of time before they begin to feel the heat. This is made all the more likely by the fact of a 35 year long tradition of visa-free travel across the borders of all fifteen West African countries.

    That is the angle of COMMITMENT which is necessary for the mission to succeed. We do not need dithering or uncommitted troops going in there. It is going to be all about direct military action out there, so we do not need any armies which would lose the zeal to fight on account of having lost seven soldiers to landmine blasts.

  3. I would love to see some good Airframes (including choppers) in the mix. We need to dominate the entire air zone. Armed Drones would also be effective in this kind of situation(for recce and attack). By the way…I hope Afua reports this for her employers and post an apology for her earlier report.

  4. Kitting…Logistics…funding….very very crucial

  5. beegeagle says:

    Yeah, OptimusPrime007. I agree with you.

    Like I am wondering why the FG cannot today spend US$40 million to acquire surplus stocks of

    - Mi-24V (four units)
    - Mi-17-V5 (four units)

    from Russia and have same delivered in December. The more, the merrier. You cannot have too many of those things in an area which at the very least, is as large as Afghanistan. Spotting stuff from the air is a sure way of getting by in the vast and featureless desert.

    Years ago when Ethiopia placed her first order for eight used units of Su-27 jets from Russian surplus stocks, they were delivered to Addis in 60 days flat. We know the possibilities.

    I would love to see the promised US logistical support zeroed down to up-armoured HMVV gun-trucks and MaxxPro MRAPs taken from the huge surplus that is leftover from the Iraqi pullout. Anyone who is getting involved in any way should make their intervention in any facet, MEANINGFUL.

    Inasmuch as I do not expect the Malians to be as IED-crazy as Boko Haram, you can be sure that they shall be using a lot of LANDMINES, lots of which have filtered through from the ongoing open sesame/bazaar in Libya.

    President Ouattara said last night that the 3,300 troops would back up 5,000 Malian troops. That could mean that over and above the inevitable infantry assaults, MICEMA troops would mostly be supporting the homers with mortar shelling, combat engineer tasks, artillery bombardment, armoured assaults and commando raids.

    It is also clear that the Nigerian Air Force shall be carrying out ground attack missions in tandem with French air raids and US drone strikes. I expect to see Alenia ATR 42-500 MPA Surveyor radar planes of the NAF and perhaps Diamond DA42 MPP surveillance turboprops in the theatre. Lots of aerial activity is sure given the flat, featureless and open terrain and the immense size of the territory – at the very least, as vast as Afghanistan OR South Sudan…all of that being desert territory.

  6. beegeagle says:

    There are more Mi-17/Mi-24/Mi-35 pilots and technical crew than there are airframes at this time. You only need to go to Kaduna and PHC and see.

    As we speak and even before the Nigerian Army Aviation Wing has taken off, the NAF have already trained 40 helicopter pilots for them at Kaduna – not to mention flight engineers and technicians

    Concerning groundsmen, the BVST-NAF maintenance facility centred around 97 SOG at PHC has also turned over a considerable number of technical support staff.

  7. beegeagle says:

    BTW, Mauritania have followed the example of Burkina Faso and acquired a few units of the ALX Super Tucano

  8. beegeagle says:

    ON OPTIMISED DESERT VEHICLES

    ELSEWHERE, BEEGEAGLE WROTE:

    Again, in our Far North(such as Baga) and in the Sahelian and desert areas of Chad, Niger, Sudan and Mali, what they use is TOYOTA LANDCRUISER…not Toyota Hilux, not Ford Ranger, not Mitsubishi 4WD.

    So without having to break the bank, the FG need to quietly seek out one decent Belgian or Dutch used car dealer to ship in 125 units of ‘tokunbo’ Toyota Landcruiser 4WD for use by our MICEMA contingent at a cost of US$1m.

    Note the air cleaner/fume extractor which helps in the dust storms of the desert. We need to get this right. Remember how we took non-tropicalised MOWAG APCs to Darfur and they malfunctioned? That was a PKO, this is PEACE ENFORCEMENT, read WAR.

    Any slip-ups on this one..in the open Sahara and you are donner witte. Presumably, we learnt some lessons about going into combat without the necessary materiel – Niger Delta, ECOMOG.

    http://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/nigerian-army-counterterrorism-and-counterinsurgency-operations/

  9. jimmy says:

    let us leave Ms AFUA alone she is past tense. It is not all surprising that the contribution of ghana will be next of zero. Moving on to more relevant topics . It is hoped that Nigeria will procure more of the familar air frames i.e the mi17s/24/35s and also that the c-130S we have are optimised for their best performances this is a crucial area that the u.s. if they are sincere about helping can help we need those transport planes . Nigeria might also want to take the time to procure another G222 for carrying not only troops but also” hardware”

    • Henry says:

      Air assets would be provided by either france or USA, so the airforce might not see action in mali.

      • doziex says:

        Leave our air cover to france or the US ? God Forbid !!.

        The americans will bail at the 1st sign of trouble. And the french while they wan’t to save mali, wouldn’t cry over some embarrasment to old nemesis nigeria.

        Bottom line guys, if the nigerian authorities do not do the barest minimum being suggested by mr. beegeagle, and other bloggers,( vis a vis weapons and logistic acquisition)

        Afua Hirsh, and other nigerian haters may yet have the last laugh.

        As I have said before, Nigeria, you either go hard, or go home. If our small minded leadership cannot aspire to be great, we should keep our cheap, simple minded asses at
        home.

  10. Henry says:

    Besides we have over flogged this afua hirsch issue. We are now giving her more relevance. There is no point mentioning her name here again, she has since lost her relevance( she didn’t have any anyway). So please let us move on.

    • Deway says:

      The damage done by that girl has gone beyond Guardian UK to assume far reaching damaging proportions in western and African defence circles. Also listen to CNN’s Lagos correspondent, Vladimir, talk about Nigeria not having the training and equipment to lead the Mali mission.

  11. eyimola says:

    Am I the only person who believes that 3000 troops is way to low?
    I dont like this Mali mission.

    It is hearthbreaking for me to see my good friend BEEG more or less begging the Govt to puchase ‘‘tokunbo’ Toyota Landcruiser 4WD’ when he knows as well as I do that to reduce the inevitable no of casualties from rpg’s and ied’s, it is imperative that troops be provided wih appropiate levels of ballistic protection. I completely reject the assumption that Ansar Dine/MNLA (or whatever they choose to call themselves nowadays) having captured two of the largest armories in West Africa will not have access to heavy weaponry.(Indeed as we have seen they have so much explosive material, that they have been wasting them blowing tombs up). 2 years after the Boko Haram crisis went hot, I still dont see any dedicated desert warfare vehicles in the Amy’s inventory. This does not mean that they lack vehicles to confont Boko Haram, it just shows a lack of contigency planning.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, 4 Nigerian peacekeepers were killed and 8 injured when their convoy was ambushed in Dafur. I am sure they were in some ridiculus 4X4 without adequate protection.

  12. Spirit says:

    I also foresee heavy casualties if we go in there without enough MRAPs. As we speak now, Jihadist all over North Africa are pouring into Mali to ‘contribute their quota’ to the propagation of chaos. They know what Nigeria can do especially after Liberia and Sierra Leone and I believe they are not just folding their arms neither will they roll over and die as soon as they see the coalition.

    No point going to this expansive desert without many Mi-17/24s for rapid deployment into battles. No point going without loitering capability that will be provided by drones because these guys are in there own terrain and they will optimize the ” guerrilla tactics”.

    3,300 is way too low for this mission unless the possess an awesome rapid deployment capability. Otherwise, we will be calling for more troops a few months into the mission.

    The FG should acquire more MRAPs and Mi-17/24 to save our guys from unnecessary deaths and we should expects a lot of Libyans ZSUs/Shilka.

    Go we must.

  13. Cutievik says:

    Where are the units of MRAP’S we ordered?

  14. beegeagle says:

    My Commander sir, keeping still here.

    Right, I made that prescription because I expect 4WDs to only play a peripheral, utility role – lest they get distracted and fail to see the big picture.

    The troops are going to fan out from Bamako in the south to Mopti in central Mali which is the limit of the sphere of governmental authority. Those are practically safe zones where they can use Toyota Landcruiser trucks for liaison and the cartage of small consignments of materiel.

    Of the suggested haul of 125, perhaps 75 would go towards liaison and utility at the rear – southern and central Mali.

    Into the North, I would suggest that Nigeria MOUNT her some of her considerable anti-tank gun holdings and mortars on fifty units of Toyota Landcruiser.

    Not too long ago, Henry showed us a rare report which showed clearly that in addition to the known holdings of M40 106mm RCLs and 84mm Carl Gustav, we own a hitherto unknown 100 units of French-made APILAS anti-tank guns.

    So I would weaponize fifty Landcruisers – mounting 20 units of 81mm mortars, 15 units of APILAS anti tank weapons and 15 units of M40 106mm RCLs on these Toyota Landcruisers.

    To each patrol unit of two MRAPs and two upgunned HMVV gun-trucks, I would deploy one unit of weaponized 81mm mortar/RCL-mounted Toyota LandCruiser, ensuring that these hunter-killer “wolf packs” pack a real punch and strike a balance between troop protection, mobility and firepower.

    Concerning MRAPs and mine-protected Light Patrol Vehicles(such as the Oshkosh SandCat and Mahindra Marksman), our views on the necessity to massively ramp up those numbers remain unchanged. Let us hope that reports of deliveries of Springbuck VI MRAPs and the said M-LPVs reach us in a matter of weeks.

    I expect that LANDMINES, given the glut which has been siphoned from Libyan armouries, shall pose as serious a threat as was witnessed during the Chad v Libya War in the Aouzou Strip.

    Concerning the numbers of troops, I BELIEVE that we have not nearly attained an endpoint on that one. Remember that ECOMOG in Liberia started out with 4,000 troops. As the war progressed, Nigeria alone had a peak deployment of 13,000 troops.

    In the first phase of the forthcoming Mali ops, I BELIEVE that emphasis shall be placed on the reconquest of population centres chiefly, GAO, KIDAL and TIMBUKTU. Then, rebels shall cross over to the government’s side and patriotic militia groups controlled by the government shall emerge ala Kamajor militiamen of the ECOMOG era in Sierra Leone.

    Displaced from the main cities, the terrorists shall seek solace out in the desert where recce flights shall spot them and air strikes mounted against them. Even so, the alliance of Malian Army and MICEMA would have gained the support of patriotic militia groups which would avail the mission with even deeper knowledge of the local desert environment. This would facilitate the tracking down of retreating terrorists.

    Thankfully, the USA and France do not prevaricate or stall unlike the other country of sneering cynics which is known for using its malevolent media to run down every noble effort. You can be sure that there shall be relentless air attacks on rebel gun-trucks and heavy weapons.

  15. beegeagle says:

    MDANOOZ KENYA says

    Brilliant that Africans are now being seenas able to handle their own issues…..but am not sure whether the 3300 would be enough, considering the Malians were
    outrun and outgunned by the rebels, and northern Mali is vast

    BEEG can you please provide the capability of the Nigeriens and the Burkinabes (personnel, training and equipment)

    As to Kenya things are bad, 42 policemen killed in an ambush by cattle rustlers. However on the
    good side OSPREA setting shop in MSA, Kenya to build Mamba MK5 MRAPs (probably the Kenyan Police takes advantage of this)….

    Advert placed on the Kenyan Standard newspaper pg 9.

  16. peccavi says:

    Guys MRAPS are utility vehicles, not APCs. That they can be used as fighting vehicles is neither here nor there, APC’s are more relevant, but ‘technicals’ in this environment are just as functional for the mobility and firepower they provide, most importantly the light logistic and fuel trail they have, Logistics will be critical in this theatre, few navigable roads and a limit on air frames.

  17. jimmy says:

    Much as I have a love hate relationship with the argument of MRAPS vs APCs as a civil engineer trained to follow the topography of the land Malian desert ( please correct me if I am wrong oga beegeagle, peccavvi) appears to be mostly flat desert. This will demand fast moving APCs vehicles perhaps with one or two mraps. But these type of engagements I expect to be fast moving once the big three Timbuktu, Gao and Kidali ? have been cleared. Hence over reliance on slow moving mraps will not be feasible. i also expect since it is their weapon of choice hundreds of technicals so in some instances speed will have to be matched with speed , because even with western air superiority ( assumed) and THE NAF the planes and helios cannot be everywhere at once.

    • peccavi says:

      exactly, the fighting will be for population areas or transport routes or interchanges. There are forest, hills etc, MRAP’s are a specific solution to a specific problem, essentially they are armoured trucks, for use in COIN, in this case you need APC’s or IFV’s that have good cross country ability. Failing that 4wd which have cross country ability, speed, range and can mount powerful weapons,

  18. doziex says:

    Hehehe, guys if we don’t at least equip this force to the Amisom standard, and raise troop numbers achieved in somalia, this mission would be an utter disaster.

    I was saying this month’s before the name Afua Hirsh was known to anybody.

    The difference is, she was merely hating on nigeria, and slandering NA with out facts.

    I on the other hand, criticize from the point of view of a frustrated patroit.

    With all nigeria has at stake, why is the president and all the legislators remaining tight fisted on this issue.

    The EU & the US funded and equiped the Amisom forces, I can guarantee you, they will not do the same in any mission with nigeria as a key participant. For various reasons.

    Nigerians should see this mission to mali, as nigeria regaining it’s strategic footing in global affairs, and not like an unwilling handy man being asked to do an unsavoury job.

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