The UN Security Council on Thursday authorized the deployment of an African-led international force to support Mali in its fight against terrorists and armed rebel groups in the north of the country.

The Security Council said the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) will use “all necessary means” to assist the Malian government in “recovering the areas in the north of its territory under the control of terrorist, extremist and armed groups.”

The force will reduce the threat posed by terrorist organizations and groups associated with extremist groups, “while taking appropriate measures to reduce the impact of military action upon the civilian population.”

AFISMA, which will be deployed for an initial period of one year, is also tasked with assisting Mali’s defence and security forces, supporting the transitional government in the maintenance of peace and security, and protection of civilians.

The African Union and Economic Community of West African States had been calling for deploying more than 3,000 military personnel to counter terrorist threats by armed groups that have seized areas in the north of Mali.

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