Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger form defence alliance

The leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have signed a charter establishing a defence alliance.

Ministerial delegations from the three Sahel countries announced at a press conference where the charter took place on Saturday in the Malian capital Bamako.

“Today, together with the Heads of State of Burkina Faso and Niger, I signed the Liptako-Gourma Charter establishing the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), the aim of which is to establish an architecture of collective defence and mutual assistance for the benefit of our populations”, the head of Mali’s ruling junta, Assimi Goita, posted on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter.

TRT news report that, The Liptako-Gourma region, where the Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger borders meet, has been ravaged by armed insurgent groups in recent years.

The report said that all the three countries are battling an insurgency that erupted in northern Mali in 2012 and spread to Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.

Niger’s junta leader Abdourahmane Tiani described the signing of the charter as ”historic” saying ”together, we will build a peaceful, prosperous and united Sahel.”

All three countries have also undergone coups since 2020, most recently Niger, where soldiers in July overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum.

The countries have recently been at loggerheads with the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS over the coup that took place in Niger.

ECOWAS had threatened to use force to reverse the coup but the three countries vowed to counter the move.

“This alliance will be a combination of military and economic efforts between the three countries”, Mali’s defence minister Abdoulaye Diop said at the press conference on Saturday.

“Our priority is the fight against terrorism in the three countries”, he added.

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