Mali pulls out of West Africa’s multi-national military force

Military junta cites lack of progress in fight against insurgency, failure to hold recent meetings in country for move

James Tasamba   | 16.05.2022
Mali pulls out of West Africa’s multi-national military force

KIGALI, Rwanda

Mali’s military junta announced Sunday that it has decided to withdraw from the West African multi-national military force G5 Sahel, citing a lack of progress in uprooting an insurgency.

The G5 Sahel, which comprises Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, was created in 2014 and its anti-insurgent force launched in 2017 to combat an insurgency in the three-borders region as part of a multinational force.

In a statement, the government also attributed its decision to the G5 Sahel’s failure to hold previously scheduled meetings in Mali.

In February 2021, the Assembly of Heads of State of the G5 Sahel member countries meeting in the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, had agreed to hold their 8th ordinary session in Bamako, the capital of Mali, in February this year, but it did not take place on the grounds of Mali’s recent political situation.

In accordance with established practice, Mali would have assumed the presidency of the G5 Sahel currently held by Mahamat ldriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president.

“The Government of Mali firmly rejects the argument of barring Mali from assuming the presidency of the G5 Sahel due to the internal national political situation because it has no legal basis,” the statement said.

Accordingly, “the Government of Mali has decided to withdraw from all organs and bodies of the G5 Sahel, including the Joint Force.”

The junta believes refusing Mali’s presidency by some G5 Sahel states is “linked to the maneuvers of an extra-regional state desperately aimed at isolating Mali.”

Mali has witnessed two subsequent coups, in August 2020 and in May 2021.

The move compelled West Africa's regional bloc the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to slap sanctions on the government of junta leader Col. Assimi Goita. The latest move could further isolate the country.

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