Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Sign Mutual Defence Pact to Combat Terrorism

  • 19 Sep 2023

Recently, military leaders from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have jointly signed a mutual defence pact, known as the Liptako-Gourma Charter, with the aim of establishing a collective defence and mutual assistance framework against terrorism and insecurity in the Sahel region.

Key Points

  • Formation of Alliance of Sahel States (AES): Military leaders from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have signed the Liptako-Gourma Charter to establish the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).
  • Shared Goal: The AES aims to create an architecture of collective defence and mutual assistance to benefit the populations of these Sahel countries.
  • Region of Concern: The Liptako-Gourma region, where the borders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger converge, has faced significant challenges due to jihadist activities in recent years.
  • Primary Objective: The key priority is to collectively combat terrorism within the territories of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
  • ECOWAS Concern: The West African regional bloc ECOWAS had threatened military intervention in Niger following a coup in July.
  • Declaration of War Warning: In response, Mali and Burkina Faso warned that any such operation would be considered a "declaration of war" against them.
  • Mutual Defence Commitment: The Liptako-Gourma Charter binds the signatory countries to provide mutual assistance, including military support, in the event of an attack on any of them.

Challenges Ahead

  • Security Challenges: Mali has been dealing with jihadist threats from groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, as well as renewed hostilities by predominantly Tuareg armed groups.
  • Complex Security Landscape: The escalation of military activities in the region presents challenges for Mali's stretched army and raises questions about the junta's claims of improving security.
  • Peace Agreement Status: The 2015 peace agreement between Mali and Tuareg armed groups is considered largely ineffective.
  • Jihadist Presence: Besides Tuareg-related conflicts, the region faces threats from jihadist organizations like the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM).