Mali withdraws from regional G5 Sahel joint force

By Orowo Victoria Ojieh with agency report

Mali’s military junta has announced on Sunday that the country will be pulling out of a multi-national military force tackling terrorist insurgency in West Africa’s Sahel region The Trumpet gathered.

The G5 Sahel force, which includes troops from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania, was set up in 2017 to counter jihadists who have swept across the region in recent years, killing thousands of people and forcing millions to flee their homes.

The statement by Mali’s junta blamed a lack of progress in the fight against the jihadists and the failure to conduct recent meetings in Mali.

A summit of the G5 heads of state was slated to take place in Mali’s capital Bamako in February this year.

It was due to mark “the start of the Malian presidency of the G5”.

However, the conference “has still not taken place”, the statement said.

The statement claimed Bamako “firmly rejects the rationale of a G5 member state that advances the internal national political situation to reject Mali’s exercise of the G5 Sahel presidency.” The decision comes at a time of political friction between Mali and France.

This move would further isolate Mali, which has also been slapped with sanctions from West Africa’s regional political bloc.

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Mali since January has been the target of a series of economic and diplomatic sanctions from west African states to punish the military junta’s bid to stay in power for several more years, following coups in August 2020 and May 2021.

The junta has opted for a two-year transition while the Economic Community of West African States has urged Bamako to organise elections in 16 months’ maximum.

Earlier this month, UN chief Antonio Guterres said political instability and human rights violations in Mali and Burkina Faso were undermining the Sahel’s anti-jihadist operations and called for returning power to civilians as soon as possible.

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