Politics, Travel News|

US Bans Mali Coup Leaders from Travel

Mali Coup Leader and SupportersThe US Department of State has banned those actively promoting Captain Amadou Sanogo and the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State from crossing its borders. The captain was the leader of the military coup that, on March 21, seized control from democratically elected President Amadou Toumani Toure, who says he is safe somewhere in the country.

The travel ban move, which was announced on Tuesday, follows and supports the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposing their own sanctions. Department of State spokesperson Victoria Nuland says the US had reiterated its call on Captain Sanogo and those supporting him to restore full rule to Malian civilians without delay. The US remains very concerned about the ongoing political unrest in the country. The department also warned in a statement that the territorial integrity of Mali is at stake, and its political institutions will be weakened further if the coup leader and supporters don’t release their hold on the country and its people right away.

At the same time, Washington urged all armed rebels in the north of Mali to cease military operations that put the Republic’s territorial integrity at jeopardy. It also urged all parties in the region to ensure that northern populations are safe and secure. It has encouraged all armed rebels to engage in talks with the civilian leaders in capital city of Bamako to find a non-violent way forward for a peaceful coexistence and national elections when civilian leadership is restored.

The African Union and ECOWAS are the two major confederations that represent African countries. On Tuesday, the African Union said it would impose more sanctions on Mali. Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra says they support the ECOWAS’s sanctions, and its own have gone further to include asset freezes. They condemn the recent attacks in the north by rebel groups and have declared any of their statements or demands null and void. The union added the rebels and everyone involved in attacks in the region to the sanctions as well.

This came the day after the ECOWAS imposed travel and economic restrictions on the ruling military junta. Chairman Alassane Ouattara, who is also the president of Ivory Coast, says that they have barred the coup leaders from travelling and imposed a diplomatic and financial embargo. All economic, diplomatic, financial and other measures are applicable from Monday and won’t be lifted until constitutional order is reestablished. Leaders of the ECOWAS will meet this week to talk about possibly activating troops from member states, as it had given the military junta until Monday to turn over power or face sanctions.

Meanwhile, the French foreign ministry this week advised nationals to leave Mali and not to travel to the country until further notice due to the instability of the current security situation. This follows the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also advising nationals to leave and not to travel to the country.

Tuareg rebels have managed to gain control of several important towns, including Kidal, Gao and most recently Timbuktu. Gao is a regional capital that served as a headquarters for the army of the northern region. Timbuktu is a legendary desert town famed as a trading hub, and it was the last major town in the north of Mali to fall into rebel hands.




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