NIAMEY/BAMAKO (Reuters) -Three West African junta-led states Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso said on Sunday they are leaving the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) immediately, according to a joint statement read out on Niger national television.

“After 49 years, the valiant peoples of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger regretfully and with great disappointment observe that the (ECOWAS) organization has drifted from the ideals of its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” Colonel Amadou Abdramane, Niger junta spokesman, said in the statement.

“The organization notably failed to assist these states in their existential fight against terrorism and insecurity,” Abdramane added.

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo and Boureima Balima; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Hugh Lawson and David Holmes)

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