Niger and Burkina Faso Armed Forces have reportedly backed the Malian Army during its efforts to retake the city of Kidal, Malian and Burkinabe security sources, as well as rebels and several “observers”, have confirmed.
Niger purportedly lent a cargo plane and possibly a fighter plane, according to some reports, while Burkina Faso provided a drone, or at least ammunition for drone strikes. Both countries have also dispatched officers to the Malian Army command post in the city of Gao, according to a radio report.
The three capitals were contacted but did not provide any clarification on this point, media reported.
The reported support given to Bamako by Niamey and Ouagadougou is fully in line with the objectives of the Sahel States Alliance
set up by Mali, Niger and Burkina last September, in particular to help counter any threat of armed rebellion or external aggression.
Mali’s Transitional President Assimi Goita announced that the army had seized Kidal on November 14.
Foreign Ministry was quick to describe the capture as an “important step towards the restoration of the territorial integrity of the state” and called it a “victory” for the West African country.
“This important victory will undoubtedly contribute to the establishment of lasting peace and stability in the country,” Moscow said.
Fousseynou Ouattara, vice-chairman of the Defense and Security Commission of Mali’s Transitional Council congratulated the “Russian people for their support
, and especially Russian President Vladimir Putin”, as well as thanking more countries for their support.
“All of Mali really thanks them for their contribution. We also thank China, not forgetting Turkiye, Iran and other countries that have supported us.”
The Malian town of Kidal near the borders of Algeria and Niger has been the epicenter of an uprising by Tuareg rebels seeking to establish an independent state for more than ten years.
On November 9, the army launched a ground operation to retake the last towns in the Kidal region. The Malian Army returned to the town after 11 years on Tuesday.