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Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali Agree to Create Joint Task Force to Combat Terrorism

The leaders of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali met in Niamey Tuesday, Jan. 24, and agreed to set up an anti-terrorism force to fight against insecurity in the Liptako-Gourma area that sits across their borders, an area believed to be a growing sanctuary for insurgents.

The three presidents met in Niamey and agreed to create the Liptako-Gourma Multinational Security Force.

“We have decided to pool our intelligence resources, our [military] operational capacities to deal with the security situation in this area,” read a statement from Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso and Modibo Keïta of Mali regarding the Liptako-Gourma Multinational Security Force.

“The region of Liptako, once a haven of peace, is fast becoming a sanctuary [for] terrorist groups and criminals of all kinds. … Despite the efforts made by the member states, in relation to the international community, the security situation in the zone remains volatile and worrying,” the communique from the conference read.

The new force will be like the mixed multinational force created by Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon in 2015 to fight the Islamist group Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin,  Issoufou explained.

The Liptako-Gourma zone is a vast, nearly 143,000-square-mile area sitting across the three countries and is home to 45 percent of the total population of the three states.

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