Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have announced their withdrawal from the regional bloc ECOWAS as they accuse the body of threat.
The three countries being led by the military said the decision taken in complete sovereignty will take immediate effect.
Ties between the three nations and ECOWAS have been strained since military power grabs took place in Mali in 2020 and 2021, in Burkina Faso in 2022 and in Niger in 2023.
ECOWAS suspended all three countries and imposed heavy sanctions on Niger and Mali.
In a joint statement however, the countries accused ECOWAS of violating its principles.
“ECOWAS under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, has become a threat to its member states and its population”, said the statement.
The three countries also accused the regional body of failing to support their fight against “terrorism and insecurity”, while imposing “illegal, illegitimate, inhumane and irresponsible sanctions”.
Military leaderships in the three nations have vowed to tackle the rise of violent armed groups in their countries and have joined forces in the so-called “Alliance of Sahel States”.
The three countries have cut military ties with France, the former colonial master following the withdrawal of its troops after the coups.
ECOWAS has announced that it is yet to receive any notification from the three countries about their intention to withdraw from the bloc.
Under Article 91 of the ECOWAS Treaty, a member state can only withdraw its membership after giving a written one-year notice and abides by its provisions during that period.
In a statement, ECOWAS maintained that Burkina Faso, Faso and Niger are members of the community adding, that “the Authority remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to the political impasse” in the countries.
At least 4600 people died in West Africa in the first six months of 2023 through 1,800 attacks.
A top regional official for ECOWAS has described it as “a snippet of the horrendous impact of insecurity”.