Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The commander of the U.S. Africa Command revealed on Monday that a plan is being formed to evict al Qaeda militants in northern Mali and Nigeria.
U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham said the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are expected to decide by January on how to fund and supply combat troops and assistance to the region that the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is now using as a safe haven. If the UN approves the combat operation, the U.S. will assist with logistics and intelligence gathering, according to anonymous Pentagon officials.
Ham said the AQIM is growing strong in northern Mali since taking control of the region after a coup d’etat toppled the government in Bamako in March. AQIM training camps have increased in number while recruitment of members has intensified.
In Nigeria, Ham said the extremist group Boko Haram is also getting financial and training assistance from AQIM.
He said the U.S. is interested to help the Nigerian government deal with the Boko Haram threat. He is travelling to the African country next week to talk with local officials on how to deal with the issue.
Ham said the Nigerian military will lead the offensive against the Boko Haram without the involvement of American troops.