Harare — Three West African Sahel countries – Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso – ruled by military juntas pledged to support one another in the event of internal uprising or foreign assault, Reuters reports.
The three nations are having difficulty containing insurgents affiliated to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and the coups damaged their relationships with regional allies and international partners.
The most recent coup in Niger furthered strained relations between the three members of the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which threatened to use force to reestablish constitutional government in the nation.
In case of an attack, Mali and Burkina Faso committed to helping Niger. “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, known as the Alliance of Sahel States.
The Alliance said that other nations will offer support either singly or collectively, including through the use of force.
“I have today signed with the Heads of State of Burkina Faso and Niger the Liptako-Gourma charter establishing the Alliance of Sahel States, with the aim of establishing a collective defence and mutual assistance framework,” Mali junta leader Assimi Goita said on X (formerly Twitter).
The G5 Sahel alliance joint force, established in 2017 to combat Islamist organizations in the region and funded by France, included all three of the aforementioned governments along with Chad and Mauritania.
Following a military takeover, Mali abandoned the inactive organization, and the force’s former leader in Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, declared it to be “dead” in May 2022.
Since the coups, ties between France and the three states deteriorated. After being ordered to withdraw its ambassador and troops from Mali and Burkina Faso, France is now engaged in a tense standoff with the junta in control of Niger.