The United States announced on Tuesday a travel ban on those who led the coup in Mali and their immediate family members, joining the efforts on the continent to restore the constitutional order in the West African nation.
The visa restrictions by the State Department targeted those ” who block Mali’s return to civilian rule and a democratically elected government, including those who actively promote Captain Amadou Sanogo,” the coup leader.
“The United States reiterates its call on Captain Sanogo and his supporters to restore full civilian rule to Mali without delay, ” the State Department said in a statement.
The mutineers, unhappy over the government’s handling of the rebellion in the north of the country, removed President Amadou Toumani Toure from power in a coup on March 22, just as the country was bracing itself for a fresh presidential election on April 29.
The Tuareg rebels, who have long claimed northern Mali as their homeland, seized three key strategic towns in the north — Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu — in three days starting on Friday, taking advantage of the chaos in the country.
The U.S. had suspended part of its assistance to the impoverished nation in response, while the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union imposed respective sweeping sanctions as well in the last two days, including diplomatic and financial sanctions, border closure as well as travel bans and freezing of assets.