After the UN unanimously backed France’s military intervention in Mali to fight rebels linked to al-Qaeda, President Francois Hollande has announced more French troops will be deployed in order to stop the Islamist insurgency.

Currently there are 750 French troops in the West African nation countering advances from Islamist rebels in northern Mali, though that number is expected to rise to around 2,5000 in the coming weeks.

France’s Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said he was grateful for the support shown by the international community in the country’s fight against terrorism.

"Facing a terrorist threat, the government's determination will not weaken. I am happy with the support shown since January 11 by the entire political forces. The meeting that just happened confirms, if need be, our country's ability to unite when the values funding our republic are at stake. This is our most precious asset to fight the threat of terrorist groups."

France wants ground reinforcement s from West African allies as soon as possible, and French UN ambassador Gerard Aroud said that plans for the involvement of African troops had been stepped up.

"I have said that the African forces are going to get deployed in the coming days, the coming weeks. The head of the force which is a Nigerian general actually is already in Bamako, and we are grateful to some of our Western partners which are providing logistical support to bring African forces to Bamako."

West African military chiefs will meet in the capital of the country Bamako on Tuesday to discuss how an alliance with the French will work. Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Senegal and Togo have all pledged soldiers, whilst the UK has provided two transport planes.

 

Written and presented by Alfred Joyner