Thursday, June 20, 2024

Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso Sign Mutual Defence Pact

Ministerial delegations from the three Sahel countries, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have announced the signing of a mutual defence agreement, called the Liptako-Gourma Charter.

Making the announcement in Mali’s capital Bamako, the country’s junta leader Assimi Goita said the Liptako-Gourma Charter establishes the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

Posting to Social Media, Assimi Goita said the Charter’s aim is to establish an architecture of collective defence and mutual assistance for the benefit of our populations.

The charter signed on Saturday binds the signatories to assist one another — including militarily — in the event of an attack on any one of them.

It states that any attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of one or more contracting parties shall be considered as an aggression against the other parties and shall give rise to a duty of assistance… including the use of armed force to restore and ensure security.

It also binds the three countries to work to prevent or settle armed rebellions.

The Liptako-Gourma region which is where the Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger borders meet has been ravaged by jihadism in recent years and the alliance is meant to be a combination of military and economic efforts between the three countries.

Mali has, in addition to fighting jihadists linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, seen a resumption of hostilities by predominantly Tuareg armed groups over the past week.

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened to intervene militarily in Niger over the coup but Mali and Burkina Faso quickly responded by saying that any such operation would be deemed a “declaration of war” against them.

The escalation risks testing an already stretched army as well as the junta’s claims that it has successfully turned around a dire security situation.

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