West Africa's ECOWAS to send troops to retake northern Mali

ABIDJAN Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:12am EST

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ABIDJAN Jan 12 (Reuters) - West African regional bloc ECOWAS will begin sending soldiers to Mali by Monday as part of a mission to drive al Qaeda-linked fighters from the country's north, an Ivory Coast government official said on Saturday.

"Monday by the latest the troops will be there or will have started to arrive ... We need to retake the northern part (of Mali) occupied by the jihadists," said Ali Coulibaly, Ivory Coast's African Integration Minister.

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara currently holds the rotating chairmanship of ECOWAS.

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