In a significant turn of events, the military juntas governing Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have announced their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), effective immediately.
The move to form a counterforce against ECOWAS was considered after the overthrow of Niger’s democratically elected government, leading to heightened regional political friction.
ECOWAS, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, had issued a threat of military action if the Niger junta failed to transfer power to a civilian government.
However, the regime in Niger, backed by Mali and Burkina Faso, resisted these pressures, vowing to defend their positions.
In a joint statement on Sunday, the leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger declared their decision to exit ECOWAS, describing it as a sovereign act.
The decision to leave ECOWAS is expected to have far-reaching implications for the political and economic landscape of West Africa.
It raises questions about the future of regional cooperation, security, and economic integration in the Sahel region.
Colonel Amadou Abdramane, Niger junta spokesman, said in the statement, “After 49 years, the valiant peoples of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger regretfully and with great disappointment observe that the (ECOWAS) organization has drifted from the ideals of its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism.