Mali: Juntas of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso Sign Security Pact

Three West African countries ruled by military juntas have signed a mutual defense pact. Mali and Burkina Faso had previously promised to come to Niger’s aid in the event of an attack.

Military juntas of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso signed a security pact on Saturday promising to help each other in the event of any rebellion insurgency or external aggression.

The Liptako-Gourma Charter will create the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), Mali’s junta leader Assimi Goita posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. Its aim is to “establish an architecture of collective defence and mutual assistance for the benefit of our populations,” he wrote.

The three landlocked Sahel countries are struggling to contain Islamist insurgents linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State, while also experiencing deteriorating relations with neighbors and international partners strained because of the coups.

After the recent coup in Niger, the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has threatened to use force to restore constitutional rule in the country. Mali and Burkina Faso had previously promised to come to Niger’s aid in the event of an attack.

Alliance of military juntas

The Liptako-Gourma region, where the Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger borders meet, has been ravaged by jihadism in recent years. Mali has, in addition to fighting jihadis seen a resumption of hostilities by predominantly Tuareg armed groups over the past week.

“This alliance will be a combination of military and economic efforts between the three countries,” Mali’s Defense Minister Abdoulaye Diop told journalists. “Our priority is the fight against terrorism in the three countries.”

“Any attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of one or more contracted parties will be considered an aggression against the other parties,” according to the charter of the pact. It also said the other states will assist individually or collectively, including with the use of armed force.

All three states were members of the France-supported G5 Sahel alliance joint force with Chad and Mauritania, launched in 2017 to tackle Islamist groups in the region. Relations between France and the three states have soured since the coups.

dh/sms (AFP, Reuters)


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