Fed up with waiting for inter-regional forces to intervene in northern Mali in order to free it from Islamist control, residents in the capital Bamako have begun training, they say, to take back the territory. Our Observer visited a football pitch in the capital where impromptu training sessions are held.
For the past few weeks, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) have waited for the United Nations to give the go-ahead for military intervention in northern Mali, which would require their backing.
On July 5, the UN endorsed West African political efforts to find a solution to the crisis in Mali, but refrained from tackling the question of military action in the country until a more detailed plan could be outlined.
In a resolution
, the UN Security Council said it was ready “to further examine this request and encouraged close cooperation between the Malian Transitional authorities, ECOWAS, the African Union, and other countries to prepare detailed options in regard to any such force’s mandate.”
In other words, while a military intervention is not possible right now, it hasn’t been entirely ruled out if Mali can demonstrate that its military is ready for such an undertaking.
Boubacar Alkouraichi filmed the above video on July 11 in Bamako. In it, civilian volunteers are seen doing physical exercises and a new recruit registers with the group.