News

    ECOWAS Suspends Mali, Sends Military Delegation to Bamako

    ECOWAS spokesman Sonny Ugoh says the regional group wants to send a message that there is no reward for military escapades.

    Mali coup leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo
    Mali coup leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo

    Multimedia

    Audio
    James Butty

    A delegation of Chiefs of Defense Staff from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will travel to Mali Wednesday to inform the military junta ECOWAS wants the country returned to democratic rule.

    ECOWAS spokesman Sonny Ugoh said the military delegation is expected to be followed later in the week by another delegation comprising six ECOWAS heads of state.

    Tuesday, ECOWAS suspended Mali’s membership in the regional group following last week’s military coup d’that toppled democratically elected President Amadou Toumani Touré.

    Ugoh said ECOWAS is sending a message to the junta in Mali that there is no reward for military escapades.

    “It’s one of the basic things we do when you have this kind of intrusion by the military into governance, and it is in the spirit of our commitment to our regional protocol and democracy and governance through which we insist on zero tolerance for power opting through any other means apart from [the] democratic process,” he said.

    Ugoh said the military delegation will deliver a strong mesaage from ECOWAS’s about the military takeover.

    “Beyond this suspension, tomorrow, a delegation of Chiefs of Defense Staff is heading there [Mali] with the mandate to sensitize the junta on the need to return to constitutional rule and to intimate them of further consequences that the region intends to impose on them should they refuse to heed the provision of regional leaders,” Ugoh said.

    He said the heads of state agree to activate the ECOWAS standby force to send a stronger message that the region may consider the use of force if the junta in Bamako refuses to restore democracy.

    “We believe that they will see the handwriting on the wall.  We believe that they will understand the gravity of the situation and the enormity of what confronts them,” he said.

    Ugoh said a delegation of ECOWAS heads state is expected in Bamako later in the week as part of an overall regional effort to engage the junta leaders in Mali and to put pressure on the military leaders.

    He said the regional leaders also discussed the possibility of applying economic sanctions.

    “One of the prospects that they discussed is the possibility of a travel ban on members of the junta.  We want make them as uncomfortable as possible.  We want to demonstrate to them that there can be no reward for this kind of behavior, not just in their own case, but also as an example to others who might want to tow this line of adventurism, to discourage such behavior,” Ugoh said.

    Ugoh said it is not fair to compare the role of ECOWAS peacekeepers in Ivory Coast during that country’s conflict in 2010.  He said ECOWAS has the resolve to deal with peace and security in the sub-region.

    “The French, who intervened in the case of Cote d’Ivoire, did say that they did so at the behest of the UN, and the UN has primary responsibility for peace [and] stability in the whole world, West Africa included.  So, if indeed some power has been able to resolve the situation within the responsibility of the UN, I don’t think it would be fair enough to condemn a region,” Ugoh said.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora