Mali is withdrawing from a five-country military alliance fighting a jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region of West Africa.
The alliance called Group of five (G5) Sahel includes Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.
“The government of Mali is deciding to withdraw from all the organs and bodies of the G5 Sahel, including the joint force” fighting the jihadists, the country’s military junta said in a statement on Sunday, claiming Mali was being exploited by unnamed foreign powers.
Lack of progress a deciding factor
The G5 was created in 2014 and its anti-jihadist force was launched in 2017 to combat an Islamist insurgency that has swept across the region in recent years.
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.
Bamako “firmly rejects the argument of a G5 member state which advances the internal national political situation to reject Mali’s exercising the G5 Sahel presidency”, the statement said, without identifying the nation.
The decision comes at a time of political friction between Mali and France.
The exit also further isolates Mali, which has seen sanctions from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), affecting jobs and industry in the poverty-stricken nation.
dvv/kb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)