EU sanctions prominent members of Mali’s transitional gov’t

EU imposes travel ban, asset freeze on 5 individuals amid rising tensions between bloc, Mali over expelled diplomat, troops

The EU adopted sanctions against five Malian individuals on Friday for undermining the political transition in the East African nation.

The bloc imposed restrictive measures against these five, including four prominent members of the transitional government, for their “actions that obstruct and undermine the successful completion of Mali’s political transition,” the Council of the European Union said in a statement.

The sanctions, which have been in the making since December, were announced shortly after the Malian government expelled the French ambassador and Danish troops from the country.

Under the decision, the individuals will not be allowed to travel to the EU and their European financial assets will be blocked, with EU operators now forbidden to make funds available to them.

“The EU continues to stand with the people of the Sahel and reaffirms its full commitment to strict compliance with the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law in Mali,” the statement pointed out.

Mali has been in political and security turmoil since 2012, making the West African country a safe haven for international terrorism.

Last month, the country’s transitional government led by a military junta called off elections scheduled for February, proposing to stay in power for up to five years after rejecting the deadline set by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The EU has repeatedly expressed concern over the worsening political situation and measures by the Malian government that include the deployment of mercenaries from the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner Group, while demanding European military forces withdraw.

The recent moves also question the future of the French-led Takuba Task Force, a group of elite soldiers from 14 European countries assigned to accompany Malian soldiers in fighting extremist groups in the Sahel region.

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