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African Union adds to Mali sanctions with travel ban

The African Union imposed travel bans and asset freezes targeting Mali's military coup leaders on Tuesday, a day after West Africa's regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, shut off access to the country's bank account and closed its borders.

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AFP - The African Union imposed travel bans and asset freeze sanctions Tuesday on Mali's junta after it failed to heed the pan-African body's call to restore constitutional order.

The AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said the restrictions also targeted the "leaders and members of the armed and rebel groups in northern Mali."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé says that France will urge the United Nations to emphasise the need "for the international community to mobilise against the Islamist danger facing Mali” in an statement currently being drawn up on the crisis there. (AFP)

The AU "imposed, with immediate effect, individual measures including a travel ban and asset freeze against the leader and members of the military junta as well as against all individuals and entities contributing in one way or another the maintenance of the unconstitutional status quo," Lamamra told reporters.

Renegade troops toppled President Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22, accusing his government of failing to effectively tackle the threat by the northern rebels, who have since captured several towns in the region.

The 54-member AU had already suspended Mali's membership. Lamamra said they will work with the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to establish a list of all the individuals targeted by the sanctions.

He added that the collaboration was also to "facilitate the effective implementation of these sanctions so that they quickly generate a desired effect on the junta and its support while seeking to minimize the impact of the sanctions on civilians."

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has also slapped an embargo on Mali, cutting the junta off from the regional central bank in Dakar, affecting their ability to pay public wages.

It will also set up a military standby force, after earlier putting some 2,000 regional troops on alert.

Following the ECOWAS restrictions, a delegation sent by Mali's new military rulers went for talks with officials in regional powerhouse Nigeria.

 

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