By John Ikani
The interim government of Chad led by Mahamat Idriss Deby has called on Mali’s junta to re-consider its withdraw from the regional G5 force combating Islamist militants in the Sahel.
Mali’s junta announced on Sunday that it will quit a West African anti-jihadist force after it was blocked from assuming the presidency of the regional group.
The junta which ousted former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in a 2020 coup also blamed a lack of progress in the fight against the militants and the failure to hold recent meetings in Mali as another reason for its withdrawal from the G5.
The G5 Joint Force was created in 2017 to shore up efforts to establish order on the countries’ common border regions.
But it has been hobbled by a lack of funding and has struggled to reduce the violence.
The alliance known as the Group of five (G5) Sahel includes Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
Mali’s withdrawal could further isolate the country whose economy has been hit by sanctions since the coup.
Reacting to Mali’s withdrawal, Chad’s Deby, the acting president of the G5 Sahel, said in a statement released on his behalf on Friday that the alliance was “an irreplaceable instrument of cooperation”.
“The acting president of the G5 Sahel exhorts the government of the Republic of Mali to reconsider its position in order to allow efforts underway … (to) provide a solution to its concerns through an imminent conference of heads of state and government,” the statement said.
Deby was installed in power by the military last year after the battlefield death of his father, President Idriss Deby. He has faced less international criticism than Mali’s junta, which is embroiled in a dispute with France, the former colonial power and main military ally of regional forces.