The two remaining members of West Africa’s G5 Sahel alliance on Wednesday said they were paving the way to dissolving the anti-rebel grouping after the other three founding countries left.
In a joint statement, Chad and Mauritania said they “take note and respect the sovereign decision” of Burkina Faso and Niger to leave the alliance, following in the footsteps of Mali, which quit in 2022.
They “will implement all necessary measures in accordance with the G5 founding convention, notably Article 20,” the statement added. The article says the alliance can be dissolved at the request of at least three member states.
The alliance, which included Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, was created in 2014, with a counterinsurgency force added in 2017, backed by France.
On Saturday, Burkina Faso and Niger said they were withdrawing from the alliance.
“The organisation is failing to achieve its objectives,” they said. “Worse, the legitimate ambitions of our countries, of making the G5 Sahel a zone of security and development, are hindered by institutional red tape from a previous era, which convinces us that our process of independence and dignity is not compatible with G5 participation in its current form.”
In announcing their withdrawal on Saturday, the military leaders of Burkina and Niger did not explicitly call for its dissolution.
The G5 was created in 2014 but has secured only meagre results even as insecurity remains a major issue across the Sahel.
In 2017, leaders of the five countries agreed to deploy a joint anti-terror task force backed by France. But the military rulers of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali have all accused Paris of having an outsized role after years of French deployments on their territories.
Despite the creation of the joint force, violence by armed groups has continued to spread, leaving thousands of civilians and fighters dead and displacing millions. It has also contributed to political instability in the region, which has seen a succession of military coups.
In September, two months after a coup in Niger, the country signed a mutual defence pact with Burkina Faso and Mali to assist one another – including militarily – against possible threats of armed rebellion or external aggression. The charter is known as the Association of Sahel States (ASS).