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ECOWAS forces to guarantee civilian rule in Mali and Guinea Bissau

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ECOWAS forces to guarantee civilian rule in Mali and Guinea Bissau

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West African power bloc ECOWAS is sending troops to monitor transitions back to civilian rule in Mali and Guinea Bissau.

Following a meeting in Ivory Coast, the regional body made the military commitment and said it expects both countries to hold elections within one year.

Details of how many troops will be deployed, have not yet been announced, but it is thought between 3,000-5,000 could be sent to Mali, where the government was overthrown by a military junta in March. An interim president has been sworn in, but the country is still battling separatist Tuareg rebels in the north.

Guinea Bisau will be embarking on its third post-coup transition just two years since elections in March lead to further divisions between politicians and the armed forces, causing the coup in April.