Mali’s Military Junta Withdraws From Regional Sahel Force

Reports indicate that Mali‘s Military Junta is withdrawing from a regional military group fighting insurgents in the Sahel region of West Africa.

The West African nation stated on Sunday that the protest was in response to its rejection as the G5 regional group’s leader, which also comprises Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

Mali’s junta, which deposed previous President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in a coup in 2020, also blamed a lack of progress in the war against insurgents and the failure to hold recent meetings in Mali in its statement.

Former Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

The army was established in 2017 to combat terrorists who have ravaged the region in recent years, killing thousands of people and forced millions of others to abandon their homes.

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However, it has struggled to curb the violence due to a lack of funding. Other countries of the G5 have yet to respond to Mali’s announcement.

Mauritania, Chad, and Niger are also members of the G5 Sahel, which has roughly 5,000 troops.

Mali’s exit might further isolate the country, which has been subjected to sanctions since the coup.

Military coups in Mali and Burkina Faso are putting the regional force’s operational capacity in jeopardy, according to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a report to the Security Council on May 11.

Mali has been the target of a series of economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed by ECOWAS since January 9 to punish the military junta’s attempt to extend its rule after coups in August 2020 and May 2021.

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The West African Bloc ordered the closure of members’ land and air borders with Mali, the suspension of non-essential financial transactions, and the freezing of Malian state assets in ECOWAS central and commercial banks.

Also recall that UEMOA instructed all financial institutions under its umbrella to suspend Mali with immediate effect, severing the country’s access to regional financial markets.

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