On Saturday, ministerial delegations from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger jointly announced the signing of a charter that officially establishes a defense alliance among the leaders of these 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 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 the region of Liptako-Gourma, where the borders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger converge, there has been a significant impact from jihadist activity in recent years.
These three nations have been grappling with a jihadist insurgency that initially emerged in northern Mali in 2012 and subsequently spread to Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.
Furthermore, all three countries have experienced political coups since 2020, with the most recent one occurring in Niger when soldiers overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum in July.
“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.
Apart from confronting jihadists associated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, Mali has witnessed a resurgence of conflicts involving primarily Tuareg armed factions in the past week.
These separatist groups initiated a rebellion in 2012 but subsequently reached a peace accord with the government in 2015.
However, the effectiveness of that agreement is currently widely viewed as ineffective or defunct.
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