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World Tour: Three West African leaders form military alliance


WORLD Radio - World Tour: Three West African leaders form military alliance

Plus, the Philippines and Japan sign a defense agreement, Panama begins blocking migrants, and Libyan migrants land on Lampedusa

Capt. Ibrahim Traore, the military leader of Burkina Faso Associated Press/Photo by Kilaye Bationo, File

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.

AUDIO: [Music and cheers]

West Africa military split — We start today’s roundup in West Africa where three military leaders in the region formally launched an alliance.

The leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger held the first summit of their Confederation of Sahel States—also called Alliance of Sahel States—in Niger on Saturday. The three countries first announced their partnership last year. Then, in January, they withdrew from the regional Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS.

Mali will lead the new bloc of about 72 million people for the first year.

Abdourahamane Tiani is Niger’s ruling general.

TIANI: [Speaking French]

He says here that the new alliance is the only way to tackle terrorism in the current geopolitical climate.

The meeting came one day before a planned ECOWAS summit on Sunday.

Omar Alieu Touray is the president of ECOWAS. He warned that West Africa faces the risk of disintegration because of the new military formation.

TOURAY: [Speaking French]

He says here that the change will disrupt people’s freedom of movement and settlement and also worsen insecurity.

AUDIO: [Applause]

Japan-Philippines —Next, to the Philippines, where authorities signed a defense agreement with Japan on Monday.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement will allow both countries to deploy troops in each other’s territories for training exercises and other operations.

The defense pact is Japan’s first in Asia. It has signed similar agreements with Australia and Britain.

Monday’s agreement comes as conflicts increase with China in the South China Sea.

Enrique Manalo is the Philippines’ foreign affairs secretary.

MANALO: Amidst the realities permeating the regional security landscape, our strategic partnership plays an important role.

He says here that the partnership will allow the countries to bolster regional security.

Panama-Colombia — Over in Panama, authorities have started building a barbed wire fence along the Darien Gap in an attempt to block out crossing migrants.

The Darien jungle links Central America to Colombia and has become a major route for migrants seeking entry into the United States.

Jose Raul Mulino took office as Panama’s president last week.

AUDIO: [Applause]

He vowed to end illegal immigration and signed a pact with the United States shortly after assuming office to block the Darien Gap route.

Authorities in neighboring Colombia have criticized the move.

Julio Balanta Mina is the Colombian ombudsman.

MINA: [Speaking Spanish]

He urged authorities in Panama to respect migrants’ rights and access to basic needs.

Authorities in Panama recorded more than 190,000 migrants crossing the Darien jungle in the first half of this year.

AUDIO: [Migrants speaking]

Lampedusa migrants — We wrap up today on the Italian island of Lampedusa where some 39 migrants arrived after traveling for two days at sea.

The migrants had departed from Libya.

They said they spent 44 days detained in a Libyan camp before they escaped and began their journey. Their boat arrived on the shore of the island—avoiding any detection from patrol boats.

Migration played a major role in the European Parliament elections last month.

More than 73,000 migrants have arrived in Europe this year. More than 1,500 others have died along the way.

That’s it for today’s WORLD Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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