Mali is isolating itself a little more. On Sunday, May 15th, Bamako announced its withdrawal from the G5 Sahel and its anti-jihadist military forces in protest of its opponents’ refusal to assume the presidency of this regional organization consisting of Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Niger. “The Government of Mali decides to withdraw from all organs and bodies of the G5 Sahel region, including the joint force”, says its press release. G5 Sahel was created in 2014, and its anti-jihadist force was launched in 2017.
Since January 9, Mali has been subject to economic and diplomatic sanctions from West African countries, which accuse the junta of wanting to stay in power for several more years, after two coups in August 2020 and then in May 2021.
This new decision comes after the Military Council announced, in early May, the expiration of the 2014 cooperation agreement with France, as well as the 2013 and 2020 agreements that define the legal framework for the presence of the anti-jihadist force Barkhane and the European Special Forces group Takoba, at the initiative of France.
At the origin of Bamako’s anger against the G5 Sahel: the Organization of Heads of State Conference, initially scheduled for February in Bamako, which was due to Dedicating the beginning of Mali’s G5 presidency. But “Almost a quarter after the specified term”, this meeting “I still didn’t hold up”refers to the press release issued by the financial authorities.
Mali government “Strongly rejects the argument of the G5 Sahel member state that pushes the national internal political situation to oppose Mali’s exercise of the G5 Sahel presidency.”Without mentioning this country. “The opposition of some G5 Sahel countries to the Mali presidency is linked to the maneuvers of a country outside the region that are desperately aimed at isolating Mali.”continues the press release, without naming this case either.
Relations between Mali and European countries, starting with France, have deteriorated significantly in recent months. France and its allies accuse the military council of securing the services of the Russian private security company Wagner, with controversial measures, which Bamako objects to.
Bilateral relations with the G5 Sahel countries “Stay”The Minister of Financial Regional Administration, Colonel Abdullah Maiga, said Sunday evening, via Public Financial Television.
The five Sahel countries established this organization in 2014, then unleashed their military power in 2017, while tightening the noose around these countries with ill-equipped armies. The G5 Sahel consisted of about 5,000 soldiers. Coups in Mali and Burkina Faso undermine their operational capacity, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres estimated in a report to the Security Council on May 11.
“I am deeply concerned about the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the Sahel, as well as the potentially adverse impact of the unstable political situation in Mali, Burkina Faso and beyond on efforts to make the force more effective. The Joint Five Sahel”said in this document.
Mali has been the scene since 2012 of the operations of jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, as well as acts of violence of all kinds perpetrated by bandits and self-defense militias.
The violence, which began in the north in 2012, has spread to the center, and then to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. It has caused the deaths of thousands of civilians and military personnel as well as hundreds of thousands of displaced people, despite the deployment of UN, French and African forces.