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West African nations to send troops to Mali

LAGOS — A bloc of West African nations has agreed to send 3,000 troops to stabilize Mali, Nigeria’s state-run TV reported Sunday.

The decision came late Sunday at the end of an emergency meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Nigeria’s capital.

Military experts from the United Nations, ECOWAS, Europe and the African Union have drafted a plan to recapture northern Mali from Islamic terrorists, but it would need final approval from the African Union and the U.N. Security Council before it could be carried out.

Mutinous soldiers overthrew Mali’s democratically elected president more than seven months ago, creating a power vacuum that paved the way for Islamists to grab the north.

Security analysts and diplomats say that even if the deployment of troops to north Mali is approved by the United Nations, the deployment of troops could take months.

From wire dispatches and staff reports