Mali crisis - AU warns stabilisation operation in Mali may last longer. The African Union (AU) said Monday that the Stabilisation of Mali may take longer, and noted that regional cooperation was required to stop the armed insurgents from fleeing into villages.
AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra said the troops being deployed to Mali was part of an offensive to restore state authority over northern Mali, but that a stabilisation mission is required.
'This is an offensive phase, but a stabilisation phase will likely last longer,' Lamamra told journalists in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday, on the ongoing deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).
Experts fear the ongoing battle which has seen the recapture of several Malian towns and villages from the insurgents may force them to go underground, from where they will likely launch guerrilla attacks.
'The terrorists will gain access to the mountains. This is to be expected. They are part of organised international crime,' the Lamamra said.'This gives room for hit-and-run operations. It calls for regional cooperation.'
The just-concluded AU Summit called for regional cooperation, especially on intelligence gathering, to stop the advance of the rebels.
It also called for a series of meetings to be organised with the Malian leaders to facilitate effective border monitoring.
The Summit adopted a 'Solemn Declaration' on Mali, condemning the actions of the insurgents and the punishment they have continued to inflict of civilian population, including the destruction of religious monuments.
In its final declaration on Mali, the Summit authorised the deployment of a human rights component within the AFISMA to monitor any possible human rights violations.
Ibrahima Kane, an international human rights campaigner, hailed the AU's decision to authorise the deployment of human rights monitors in Mali.