Nigeria envoy presses Canada for military help in Mali

24th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Nigeria's ambassador to Canada, Ojo Maduekwe, on Thursday pressed his hosts to further reinforce French and African troops battling Islamist rebels in Mali.

In an interview with the daily Globe and Mail, the ambassador said Nigeria and other West African nations, which have committed 3,700 troops to the fight, need the military backing of Canada and other Western nations.

"What is required here is global political will, and global resources far beyond the capacity of African states, to see this thing as a common threat and deal with it," he said.

"Rather than waiting for this thing to get worse, the time to deal with it is now, by a more imaginative, bolder and more creative response. An incremental approach ultimately is not the smartest thing to do. It will be more convenient for now, but more costly in the future."

A single C-17 military transport aircraft "is something. It's not enough," he added, alluding to Canada's contribution to the mission so far.

"We need equipment, which we do not have. We need funding for this -- it shouldn't be seen as a regional problem, it's an international problem. We need training in dealing with this kind of threat," he said.

The envoy stopped short of asking for Canadian combat troops to join the fight, though he added "they'd be very much welcome, like the French."

Canada's prime minister, meanwhile, consulted overnight with opposition leaders on Mali and on a French request to extend the tour of Canada's jumbo jet, which was scheduled to end on Thursday.


© 2013 AFP

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