Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali vow not to return to ECOWAS 

Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali have “irrevocably” turned their backs on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), over persistent attacks by jihadists in the sub-region.

Abdourahamane Tiani, Niger Republic’s military leader said this on Saturday, at the first summit of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), which held in Nigerien capital city Niamey. Tiani accused ECOWAS of not doing enough to ensure safety of lives of the people.

The AES was set up after the three Sahel nations pulled out of ECOWAS in February.

The countries run by military juntas clashed with the West African regional bloc, following the coup d’etat which brought Tiani to power in Niger in July 2023.

ECOWAS imposed sanctions — including border closure and halt of the export of electric power to Niger — against the junta-led countries, as part of efforts to reverse the coups in the nations.

The sanctions were however lifted in February, and few days later, the countries pulled out of ECOWAS.

“Our people have irrevocably turned their backs on ECOWAS,” Tiani said.

The AES also alleged that ECOWAS is being manipulated by former colonial ruler France, with Tiani calling for the AES to become a “community far removed from the stranglehold of foreign powers”.

The countries said they would instead turn towards Russia, Turkey and Iran — their “sincere partners”.

“The AES is the only effective sub-regional grouping in the fight against terrorism,” he said.

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