Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso Leave ECOWAS

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Soldiers who seized power in three West African nations announced on Sunday that they would pull their countries out of their regional economic bloc.

Military juntas in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso said they were withdrawing from the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, because of sanctions the group imposed in response to the coups that were carried out.

In recent years, a string of coups have erupted across the Sahel, the arid strip south of the Sahara, forming an unbroken strip of military-run countries stretching coast to coast across the continent.

While attempts by the regional bloc to reverse some of these coups have failed, the sanctions it imposed — closing borders and cutting the three landlocked countries off from major trading partners — have endured, causing intense hardship for millions of people.

On Sunday, the three juntas said these sanctions were “inhumane.”

ECOWAS closed land and air borders, imposed a no-fly zone for commercial flights, suspended financial transactions and froze assets the countries held in ECOWAS central banks.

In a statement, the juntas accused the bloc of “betraying its founding principles” and said it had “become a threat to its member states and their people.”

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Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso Leave ECOWAS

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