EU imposes sanctions on Mali’s PM, coup leaders

The officials are subject to a travel ban which prevents them from entering the EU and freezing of their assets.

Choguel Maiga
Choguel Maiga, prime minister of the transitional government, is among those penalised [File: Kena Betancur/Reuters]

The European Union has placed targeted sanctions on several senior figures of Mali’s transitional government, including the prime minister, citing delayed elections and a lack of reforms.

Others sanctioned included top military commanders who removed former Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020, the first of two coups. A second coup followed in May 2021.

“The five designated people are subject to a travel ban, which prevents them from entering or transiting through EU territories, and an asset freeze,” a statement from EU states said on Friday.

“These individuals, which include prominent members of the Malian Transition Government, are responsible for actions that obstruct and undermine the successful completion of Mali’s political transition,” it added.

Choguel Maiga was named as prime minister of the transitional government by Goita in June last year, days after the second coup in the West African country.

He is accused of failing to abide by an agreement for a new presidential vote set for February 27. The military has said it plans to stay in power until 2025.

Colonel Malick Diaw and Colonel Ismael Wague, described by the EU as members of Goita’s inner circle, were also hit by the sanctions.

Another Malian official slapped with sanctions is Adama Ben Diarra –  who the EU accused of helping to overthrow Keita in 2020.

Known as Camarade Ben Le Cerveau, Ben Diarra is a vocal pro-Russian activist, whose movement has organised anti-French rallies, including one in Bamako on Friday.

The fifth man on the list is Ibrahim Ikassa Maiga, a member of the transitional government.

The EU measures follow a raft of restrictions against Mali by the ECOWAS bloc of West African states, which has condemned the transitional military government’s attempts to extend its rule.

In December, the EU also slapped sanctions on eight people and three oil companies linked to the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries, which has been accused of rights abuses in the Central African Republic, Libya and Syria.

Ongoing instability

Mali continues to faces challenges in trying to contain an armed rebellion that erupted in 2012. Rebels were forced from power in northern cities with the help of a French-led military operation, but they regrouped in the desert and began attacking the Malian army and its allies.

Stability in the west African nation has worsened with attacks on civilians and United Nations peacekeepers.

The EU has also been training the Mali armed forces and plans to continue to do so despite the severe instability and political upheaval, including the recent expulsion of France’s ambassador from the country.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies