Niamey, Dec 30 (The Street Press) – On Saturday, the leaders of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali showed their strong commitment to a common future through an alliance. This partnership has led these three countries, now under military leadership, to step back from the larger West African political group following their recent coups.
Since 2020, military officers have taken control in the three neighboring states, causing a rift with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). ECOWAS is urging them to transition back to democratic governance.
“From now on, we say, whether you’re from Mali, Niger or Burkina, we have the same destiny. We’re going in together,” stated Burkinabe premier Appolinaire Joachim Kyelem de Tambela during a joint press conference in Niger’s capital, Niamey. He emphasized the need for them to take control of their destiny. The day before, the three leaders addressed a crowd of thousands celebrating the complete withdrawal of French troops from Niger.
The juntas have recently cut longstanding military connections with their former colonial ruler, France. This move has not only diminished France’s influence in the region but has also complicated global efforts to address a decade-long Islamist insurgency causing instability in the Sahel region.
In a demonstration of independence from both France and ECOWAS, the three nations are actively building stronger bonds in security, politics, and economics through a newly formed alliance known as the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).
“And so AES was born. If you notice, it all started with safety issues. Today, collaboration between our three armies has reached an extremely high level of integration. And that scares some people,” expressed Malian Prime Minister Choguel Maiga.
In August, data from the U.S.-based crisis-monitoring group ACLED indicated a significant increase in violence in Mali and Burkina Faso following the assumption of power by their militaries.
While details about the new alliance and future plans remain scarce, Niger’s premier Ali Lamine Zeine highlighted that all forthcoming cooperation would be conducted on a trilateral basis.
“We have now decided to hold unified joint commissions for all three countries,” announced Zeine during the press conference, which was punctuated by enthusiastic chants of support.