Adieu, G5 Alliance!

2023 10 10NIGER SECURITY FRANCE scaled
A convoy of French troops based in Niger drives by as they prepare to leave Niger, in Niamey, October 10, 2023. REUTERS/Mahamadou Hamidou

The two remaining members of the G5 Sahel alliance in West Africa announced their intention to dissolve the anti-rebel coalition after the departure of the other three founding countries. In a joint statement, Chad and Mauritania acknowledged and respected the sovereign decisions of Burkina Faso and Niger to exit the alliance, following the precedent set by Mali in 2022.

The statement outlined their commitment to implementing all necessary measures in accordance with the G5 founding convention, particularly referencing Article 20, which allows dissolution upon the request of at least three member states.

Established in 2014, the G5 Sahel alliance comprised Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, with a counterinsurgency force introduced in 2017, supported by France.

Burkina Faso and Niger had previously announced their withdrawal last week, citing the organisation’s failure to meet its objectives and bureaucratic obstacles hindering the region’s security and development goals.

On Monday, Niger’s ruling junta also announced the cancellation of the nation’s military collaboration with the European Union, revoking permission for an EU initiative designed to enhance the capabilities of the security forces. The EUCAP Sahel Niger civilian mission, established in 2012 to support security forces in countering militants and addressing various threats, has approximately 120 Europeans permanently stationed in the region, as per its website.

In addition to terminating the military partnership with the EU, Niger’s junta, which assumed control through a coup in July, had called for the withdrawal of French troops assisting in the fight against Islamist militants, which after a few months of insistence, president Macron of France agreed to, withdrawing all troops until the end of this year.

While the military leaders of Burkina and Niger did not explicitly call for dissolution in their withdrawal announcement, the G5, formed to address security challenges in the Sahel, has struggled to achieve significant results.

Despite the creation of a joint anti-terror task force in 2017 with French support, armed group violence has persisted, resulting in numerous casualties and displacements. The military rulers of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali have criticized France for an outsized role, contributing to political instability and a series of military coups in the region.

But the level of insecurity and jihadist violence in Burkina Faso and Niger has increased significantly since the juntas took power, even more so since Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, known for a holistic approach to the crisis, was held hostage on July 26, and where he remains to this day. Last Sunday alone, 40 people were killed in Burkina Faso.

In September, two months after a coup in Niger, the country entered into a mutual defence pact with Burkina Faso and Mali, forming the Association of Sahel States (ASS) to collaborate against potential armed rebellion or external aggression, including military assistance.

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