KIGALI (Rwanda): Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger’s military leaders announced a defence pact Saturday committing to cooperate against armed insurgency, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported

Burkina Faso’s presidency in a statement said the parties are committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and organised gang crime in the common border.

Dubbed the Alliance of Sahel States, the three nations agreed to assist each other, including militarily, in case of an attack on any one of them.

“Using force to deal with situations of disruption of peace and stability will also be done when necessary.

“The objective of this alliance is to establish an architecture of collective defense and mutual assistance for the benefit of the populations of the three countries,” it said in a statement on Facebook.

Also known as the Liptako-Gourma charter, the agreement indicated that “any attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of one or more contracted parties will be considered an aggression against the other parties.”

The three countries, along with Chad and Mauritania, had previously agreed to unite forces in a “Coalition for the Sahel” to fight extremist insurgents in the Sahel region.

The border zone between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger presents what is Africa’s most serious extremist threat.

The Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa is now the epicentre of terrorism, accounting for more deaths from terrorism in 2022 than South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa combined, according to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2023, a report published by the Australia-based global Institute for Economics and Peace.

The three West African countries have recently stepped up cooperation in the face of heavy sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States bloc on Niger following a July 26 military intervention that deposed an elected president.

Burkina Faso ranked first on the continent and the second most affected worldwide by terrorism. - Bernama

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