The ECOWAS move comes after Mali’s transitional leaders said they would not be able to hold elections in time.
West Africa’s main political and economic bloc imposed sanctions against Mali’s transitional leaders after they informed the organization that they would not be able to hold presidential and legislative elections in February.
Mali’s interim government, which came to power following the military overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020, had promised the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to oversee an 18-month transition back to democracy. that would culminate in the elections of February 27, 2022..
But it has only made spotty progress in organizing the vote, repeatedly suggesting that it could be delayed, in part due to a continued uprising by armed groups.
Swaths of the vast nation of 19 million people are out of government control due to an armed uprising that first erupted in the north in 2012, before spreading to the center of the country, as well as neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. .
ECOWAS said in a statement Sunday after a summit in Ghana that the interim authorities had informed it “of their inability to meet the February 2022 transition deadline.”
The sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes for all members of the transition authority, as well as certain family members, according to the statement, adding that ECOWAS would consider additional sanctions in December if no progress is made.
ECOWAS first imposed sanctions, including border closures, immediately after last year’s coup, but lifted them less than two months after coup leaders agreed to the 18-month transition.
Since then, the leader of the initial coup, Colonel Assimi Goita, has struck a second coup in May, this time removing the interim president and taking office himself.
Last month, the West African country expelled special envoy of the regional bloc to Bamako accusing him of “actions incompatible with his status.”