The African Union has endorsed a plan, which now needs UN approval, to send more than 3,000 troops to assist Mali in ousting al-Qaida-linked groups from the northern part of the country. The AU deployment will help Mali "regain the occupied regions in the north of the country, dismantle the terrorist and criminal networks and restore effectively the authority of the state," said Ramtane Lamamra, peace and security commissioner for the Economic Community Of West African States.

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