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23 May - 12:29 am NZ
Updated at 1:19 pm on 14 November 2012
The African Union has approved a plan to send troops into northern Mali to dislodge armed groups linked to al-Qaeda which took over the region earlier this year.
They now hope to receive United Nations backing for the plan as they will need logistical and financial help to fulfil the strategy.
The Ecowas regional bloc on Sunday decided to send 3300 troops to help Mali's government retake the region.
The UN has warned that the militias are imposing a harsh version of Sharia law on the areas they control
The BBC reports the soldiers would be provided mainly by Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso.
President Amadou Toumani Toure was overthrown in March by a junta of disaffected soldiers who claimed his government had not dealt effectively with a Tuareg rebellion that had started in January.
All the region's major towns, including the historic city of Timbuktu, have since been seized by militia groups.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
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