OIC calls for ceasefire in Mali

File photo shows rebels in northern Mali.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called for a ceasefire in the West African nation of Mali, describing the recent military intervention in the country as “premature.”

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary-General of the OIC to which Mali is a member, on Tuesday called for “an immediate ceasefire in Mali and for all parties to go back to the negotiations which were led by Burkina Faso” in December 2012.

Meanwhile, France says it will triple its soldiers who are currently fighting the rebels in Mali.

On Tuesday, a source close to French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said “There will be a gradual [French military] buildup [in Mali] to a figure of 2,500.”

France’s plan to increase troops in Mali comes after French President Francois Hollande said there were currently 750 soldiers in the West African country.

Meanwhile, the OIC chief also expressed deep concern over “the military escalation” in Mali, calling for maximum self-restraint from all parties in order to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Chaos broke out in the African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north, which had been going on for two months.