The United Nations Security Council has approved foreign military intervention in Mali to help the Malian government battle the militants controlling the northern part of the West African country.
On Thursday, the 15-member council authorized an initial one-year-long deployment of African Union forces in the country.
The resolution, drafted by France, also authorized all European Union member states to help rebuild Mali’s security forces.
In November, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed to send 3,300 troops, mostly from Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso, to help Mali’s government regain control of the north.
On November 29, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned against a hasty military intervention in northern Mali, saying it could lead to a humanitarian crisis.
Chaos broke out in the West African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the two-month-old Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country.
However, in the wake of the coup d’état, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region, but the Ansar Dine extremists pushed them aside and wrested control of all the northern desert regions, which are larger than France or Texas.