Three military-governed states in West Africa served notice of their exit from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday.
Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali announced their withdrawal on January 28, 2024.
A part of their joint letter to the bloc read, “Their Excellencies, Captain Ibrahim Traore, Colonel Assimi GoIta and Brigadier General Abdourahamane Tiani, respectively Heads of State of Burkina Faso, the Republic of Mali and the Republic of Niger, taking all their responsibilities in the face of history and responding to the expectations, concerns and aspirations of their populations, decide in complete sovereignty on the immediate withdrawal of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger from the Economic Community of West African States.”
According to the heads of these states, the West African bloc has deviated from its mandate and has come under the influence of the West.
“After 49 years of existence, the valiant people of Burkina, Mali and Niger note with much regret, bitterness and great disappointment that their Organization has moved away from the ideals of its founding fathers and Pan-Africanism.
“Furthermore, ECOWAS, under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, has become a threat to its member states and its populations whose happiness it is supposed to ensure.”
Additionally, it noted that the bloc has failed to tackle challenges faced by individual members.
“Indeed, the organization has not provided assistance to our States in the context of our existential fight against terrorism and insecurity; worse, when these States decided to take their destiny into their own hands, it adopted an irrational and unacceptable posture by imposing illegal, illegitimate, inhumane and irresponsible sanctions in violation of its own texts: all things which have further weakened populations already bruised by years of violence imposed by instrumentalized and remote-controlled terrorist hordes.”
A junta overthrew Niger’s elected President, Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023. It was preceded by Mali’s May 2021 overthrow of President Bah N’daw.
Meanwhile, Interim President Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was overthrown by the military in Burkina Faso on September 30, 2022.