Burkina, Niger To Quit G5 Anti-militant Force
Umer Jamshaid Published December 03, 2023 | 12:00 PM
Ouagadougou, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 3rd Dec, 2023) The military leaders of Burkina Faso and Niger said Saturday they would quit the G5 anti-militant force in Africa's Sahel region, the latest blow to the fight against insurgents in one of the world's most troubled zones.
Leaders of the five countries agreed to deploy a joint anti-terror task force backed by France in 2017, but the military rulers of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali have all accused Paris of having an outsize role after years of French deployments on their territories.
"The organisation is failing to achieve its objectives. Worse, the legitimate ambitions of our countries, of making the G5 Sahel a zone of security and development, are hindered by institutional red tape from a previous era, which convinces us that our process of independence and dignity is not compatible with G5 participation in its current form," they said.
In a veiled reference to France, they added that "the G5 Sahel cannot serve foreign interests to the detriments of our people, and even less the dictates of any power in the name of a partnership that treats them like children, denying the sovereignty of our peoples."
- Le Monde suspended -
Military leaders headed by Captain Ibrahim Traore seized power in Burkina Faso in September 2022, vowing to improve security after years of militant attacks by groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
More than 17,000 people have died in attacks since 2015 in Burkina Faso, according to a count by an NGO monitor called the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), and two million people have been uprooted by the violence.
- Limited success -
Niger's foreign minister Bakary Yaou Sangare on Saturday said the new US ambassador, Kathleen FitzGibbon, who arrived in August, would soon present her letter of assignment to authorities to take up her post.
Washington, which withdrew non-essential staff from its embassy in August, indicated at the time that FitzGibbon would not present her credentials to Niger's new authorities, as the United States did not recognise them.
The West African nation is battling two militant insurgencies -- a spillover in its southeast from a long-running conflict in neighbouring Nigeria, and an offensive in the west by militants crossing from Mali and Burkina Faso.
Along with Mali, which saw a military coup in 2020, Burkina has backed Niger's military, with the three nations on Friday supporting the creation of an Alliance of Sahel States, setting up closer economic ties and mutual defence assistance.
The military regimes have also formed close ties against international pressure for a swift return to civilian rule, and to combat the long-running militant insurgencies raging in the three countries.
The French deployment in the region goes back over a decade to 2013 when then-president Francois Hollande sent troops into Mali to help fight a militant insurgency.
On the ground, few joint G5 operations have been carried out and the security situation has continued to deteriorate.
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