OTTAWA, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Increasing reports of posturing by Islamic rebels in central Mali could prompt international military intervention, Canadian officials said.
Unconfirmed and conflicting reports from the region say the rebels could be advancing on two towns under government control, officials said. The rebels took up arms in April, capturing the northern part of the African nation. Cease-fire negotiations between the two sides broke down in neighboring Burkina Faso and some reports said rebels were preparing an assault, The (Toronto) Globe and Mail said Monday.
This while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to meet with African Union President Thomas Boni Yayi in Ottawa Tuesday.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the situation in Mali would be on the agenda, but Canadian defense officials said they would consider assembling a training outfit to assist Mali government forces if the situation worsens. A 3,000-strong force of African soldiers has already been assembled with U.N. approval to support the government against the Islamic rebels.