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Move by three countries to quit ECOWAS elicits mixed reactions

A local speaks to Africanews after three countries decided to quit ECOWAS   -  
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In the capital Niamey, the decision taken by the Heads of State of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso to quit the regional block, the Economic Community of West African States, has well been received by the civilians in the region.

"They did well to take their destiny into their own hands because it's the people who are suffering. Here, we demand stronger action, even if it means disengaging from all institutions that would hinder the country's development," said Abdoul-Madjid Soumana.

"We've done it. And we'd like them to go beyond ECOWAS and leave all the institutions that could hinder our stature and development," said Souleymane Tahirou.

The leadership of the three countries accuses the West African regional bloc of colluding with major powers to destabilize their countries. They also blame the illegal, inhumane and illegitimate sanctions imposed on their countries, which are undermining the lives of their populations.

"You saw that the President of Nigeria and the President of Côte d'Ivoire went to Paris, and we suspect that France is manipulating ECOWAS. So all these elements add weight to our suspicions. So for us, the decision is not only salutary but also historic. It's rightly to be welcomed, because I say to myself, instead of trailing behind ECOWAS, if ECOWAS itself doesn't want to engage in dialogue, I don't see how we can remain part of an organization that is founded on solidarity, but today refuses to show solidarity with states that are in difficulty," said Nassirou Bodo, a social and political activist.

The three states are committed to building a new bloc of cooperation around the ESA. 

While the landlocked nature of these countries makes it difficult for them to flourish, some countries have offered to come to their aid thanks to their access to the sea. 

For the time being, ECOWAS says it is open to negotiated solutions.

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