Sahel states sign a pact allowing them to work together against the threat of armed rebellion or external aggression.

Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have signed a mutual defense pact as the three Sahel states look to help each other against possible threats of armed rebellion or external aggression.

The charter signed on Saturday, known as the Alliance of Sahel States, obliges signatories to support each other – including militarily – in the event of an attack on one of them.

“Any attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of one or more contracting parties will be considered aggression against the other parties,” it said. It also obliges the three countries to work to prevent or resolve armed insurgencies.

“I signed today with the heads of state of Burkina Faso and Niger the Liptako-Gourma Charter establishing the Alliance of Sahel States, with the aim of creating a framework for collective defense and mutual assistance,” said Malian military leader Assimi Goita on his X social media account.

The Liptako-Gourma region – where the borders of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet – has been hit by armed insurgencies in recent years.

“This alliance will be a combination of military and economic efforts between the three countries,” Mali’s Defense Minister Abdoulaye Diop told reporters in Bamako, the capital of Mali.

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

An armed insurgency that broke out in northern Mali in 2012 spread to Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.

The Malian military leader Assimi Goita published a post on the X. about the founding of the Alliance of Sahel States. [Francis Kokoroko/Reuters]

Armed uprising in the Sahel

All three states were members of the French-backed joint forces of the G5 Sahel alliance with Chad and Mauritania, which was launched in 2017 to combat armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) groups.

There have been coup attempts since 2020, most recently in Niger, where soldiers in July overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum, who was cooperating with the West in the fight against armed groups in the Sahel.

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened military intervention in Niger in connection with the coup, but the regional bloc has toned down its war rhetoric in recent weeks.

Mali and Burkina Faso quickly responded by saying such an operation would be viewed as a “declaration of war” against them.

Relations between France and the three countries have deteriorated since the coup attempts.

France has been forced to withdraw its troops from Mali and Burkina Faso and is in a tense conflict with the military that has seized power in Niger. Mali has also asked the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA to leave the country.

Niger’s military rulers have called on France to withdraw its troops and ambassador as France has refused to recognize the new military authority.

Meanwhile, Mali saw a resumption of hostilities last week by predominantly armed Tuareg groups, threatening a 2015 peace deal.

Source :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *