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09/21/2023 Sahel Region (International Christian Concern) – Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso signed a security pact on Sept. 16, promising to come to the aid of each other in case of rebellion or external aggression. This comes at a time when each of these countries faces extreme violence from Islamic insurgents, including al-Qaida and the various groups aligned with the Islamic State. Additionally, within the past three years, each of these three nations have faced military coups.  

The charter of the pact, known as the Alliance of Sahel States, outlines that the group agrees that “any attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of one or more contracted parties will be considered an aggression against the other parties.” 

The region of the Sahel has been under close watch from global actors as terrorist groups continue to grow and thrive within the area. With larger territories and governments with limited resources, multiple terrorist organizations have been able to thrive. The Sahel is a region in northern Africa comprised of portions of countries including Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mauritania, Chad, Nigeria, Eritrea, and parts of Algeria and Cameroon.  

Due to a lack of stability from many of the governments of this region, it has proven difficult to restrain terrorists. Inconsistency with laws leads to confusion within police forces and an overall lack of organization. Just this past year, Niger faced a coup d’état leading to the forced removal of French military presence. Originally, all three countries were members of the France-supported G5 Sahel alliance joint force with Chad and Mauritania, launched in 2017 to tackle Islamist groups in the region. After facing its own coup, Mali left the G5 Sahel alliance, which has rendered the group “dead,” according to ousted Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum.  

As more international powers are forced to retreat, and instability grows, critics are concerned about the military alliance created by Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.  

At ICC, we are cautiously hopeful that this alliance will bring forth greater stability, allowing for international actors to return and religious diversity to grow and thrive. While we recognize none of these hopes will be fully realized in the near future, we pray that the Sahel receive the blessings of the Lord as soon as possible. 

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