Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso form Sahel Alliance

The leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger on Saturday signed a charter officially establishing a defense alliance, as announced by ministerial delegations from the three Sahel nations during a press conference.

“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.

In recent years, the Liptako-Gourma region, where the borders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger converge, has been severely affected by jihadist violence.

These three nations are contending with a jihadist insurgency that originated in northern Mali in 2012 and subsequently extended into Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.

Since 2020, all three countries have experienced coups, with the most recent one occurring in Niger in July when soldiers overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum.

“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.

Aside from combatting jihadists affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, Mali has also witnessed renewed hostilities involving primarily Tuareg armed factions in the past week.

These separatist groups initiated a rebellion in 2012 but eventually signed a peace accord with the government in 2015.

That agreement is now generally considered moribund.

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