BAMAKO, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The first batch of about 150 Burkina Faso soldiers arrived on Wednesday at Segou, situated about 240 km from Bamako in the South of the country, a security source told Xinhua on the same day.
Having come in 30 vehicles, the Burkina Faso fighters have now settled at Markala which is situated about 130 km from Segou and 370 km from the Malian capital.
The town is very strategic given the presence of a bridge linking the North and South of Mali through River Niger.
The Burkina Faso soldiers are an addition to the French forces who have been assisting the Malian army to stop the advancement of the rebels to the South via Markala bridge.
Burkina Faso have pledged to send 500 soldiers to Mali as part of the West African forces to support the Malian army in a war against al-Quida backed rebels in northern Mali.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is expected to send a contingent of 3,300 troops to its member state Mali. Other member states that pledged to dispatch troops to Mali include Nigeria, 900 soldiers, Togo and Senegal, 500 soldiers each, and Niger and Benin will send 300 officers each.
Chad, a non-ECOWAS country, has also offered to provide 2,000 officers.
"All ECOWAS and African countries are encouraged to be involved in this war which requires the support of everyone in terms of human resource, logistics, techniques, health and information sharing," Cote d'Ivoire's Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby said last week at a ministerial meeting of the bloc on the Malian crisis.
The Malian forces, with a strong back from French troops and aircraft, have in the past week achieved victories by taking back several towns that had been occupied by the rebels forces.