In a joint press release released on Sunday January 28, the military regimes in power in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced their withdrawal, with immediate effect, from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This sub-regional organization was until now composed of fifteen members.

The respective leaders of the three Sahelian States, “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,” said the statement read on the state media of these countries.


The three countries, faced with similar problems of insecurity, jihadism and poverty, have, since the military seized power by force in 2020 in Mali, in 2022 in Burkina Faso and in 2023 in Niger, strained relations with ECOWAS. They accuse the organization in particular of not having helped them in the face of the jihadists who have been raging since 2012, first in Mali, then also in its two neighbors, killing thousands of combatants and civilians, and causing the displacement of millions of people. people.

For its part, ECOWAS is trying to stem coups and push for the return of civilians to power as quickly as possible. In particular, it took heavy sanctions in this regard against Mali and Niger and went so far as to threaten to use force in the latter country. It suspended the three countries from its organs. ECOWAS, “under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, has become a threat to its member states and its populations”, criticizes Burkina, Mali and Niger in their common text.

The withdrawal from ECOWAS is the latest act of rupture on their part. They pushed French ambassadors and forces out and turned politically and militarily towards Russia. At the end of December, the three regimes announced their desire to strengthen their cooperation, then attacking ECOWAS. “If our people say ‘we want to be governed by a military man’, why are we going to refuse him? Why should ECOWAS have its eye on how we should govern ourselves? », notably questioned the Burkinabé Prime Minister, Apollinaire Joachim Kyélem de Tambèla, during a joint press conference with his Malian and Nigerien counterparts on December 30 in Niamey.