Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso Forge Sahel Alliance for Collective Defense in Response to Recent Political Unrest
The leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have signed a charter to establish a defense alliance, as announced by ministerial delegations from the three Sahel countries 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 defense and mutual assistance for the benefit of our populations,” posted Assimi Goita, the leader of Mali’s ruling junta, on Twitter.com.
The Liptako-Gourma region, where the borders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger meet, has suffered from jihadist attacks in recent years.
These three countries are grappling with a jihadist insurgency that started in northern Mali in 2012 and spread to Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.
All three countries have also experienced coups since 2020, with the most recent one in Niger, where soldiers overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum in July.
“This alliance will combine military and economic efforts among the three countries,” said Mali’s defense minister, Abdoulaye Diop, during the press conference on Saturday.
“Our main priority is the fight against terrorism in these three countries,” he added.
In addition to combating jihadists affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, Mali has witnessed a resurgence of hostilities by predominantly Tuareg armed groups in the past week.
These separatist groups initiated a rebellion in 2012 but signed a peace agreement with the state in 2015, which is now widely seen as ineffective.