(AP) The African Union is asking the United Nations Security Council to endorse a military intervention to free northern Mali from the control of Islamist extremists affiliated with al-Qaida.
The African Union's Peace and Security Council late Tuesday endorsed a plan to send 3,300 soldiers to Mali and called on the U.N. Security Council to authorize the deployment for an initial period of one year. Leaders from the West African bloc known as ECOWAS agreed on the plan Sunday.
Mutinous soldiers overthrew Mali's democratically elected president in March, creating a power vacuum that paved the way for Islamists to grab the north, an area the size of France. Since then, Islamic fundamentalists have imposed a strict Shariah law. An adulterous couple has been stoned to death and music has been banned.