AFRICA: Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso have announced their immediate withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), citing concerns that the regional bloc has evolved into a threat to its member states.
In a joint statement, the three military-led nations accused ECOWAS of betraying its founding principles and alleged that it is under the influence of foreign powers.
The withdrawal comes as a culmination of strained relations between the three countries and ECOWAS, exacerbated by military power grabs in Mali (2020, 2021), Burkina Faso (2022), and Niger (2023).
The regional body responded by suspending all three nations and imposing substantial sanctions, a move criticized by the withdrawing countries as “illegal, illegitimate, inhumane, and irresponsible.”
The statement emphasized ECOWAS’s failure to support the fight against terrorism and insecurity as a contributing factor to the rift.
The development raises concerns about the regional dynamics and the effectiveness of ECOWAS in addressing security challenges in West Africa.