The three Sahel countries ruled by military junta, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, signed a security alliance on Saturday. They pledged mutual assistance in case of rebellions or external aggression.
All three countries face Islamist insurgents linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and the coups have also strained their relations with neighboring and other countries.
The latest coup in Niger, at the end of July, further widened the rift between the aforementioned three countries and the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which threatened to use force to restore constitutional order in Niger.
Mali and Burkina Faso have promised to come to Niger’s aid if it is attacked.
The text of the new three-nation Sahelian Alliance states, “any attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of one or more contracting parties is considered an attack on the other parties”.
Other members of the alliance will assist individually or collectively, including the use of armed forces.
“This alliance will be a combination of the military and economic efforts of the three countries,” Mali’s defense minister said, according to Al Jazeera Abdoulaye Diop. “Our priority is the fight against terrorism in three countries,” he added.
An armed rebellion broke out in Mali’s council in 2012, which spread to Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.
All three countries were members of the G5 Sahel regional alliance, along with Mauritania and Chad, and with the support of France, which was formed in 2017 to fight jihadist groups in the region.
Mali left the group after a coup in 2021 and is now the ousted president of Niger last May Mohamed Bazoum said that the group after leaving Mali “dead”.
France, the former colonial master in the region, was forced to withdraw its forces after coups in Mali and Burkina Faso, and their withdrawal from the territory of Niger is also demanded by the local military junta. Paris does not recognize her authority.