ECOWAS weighs sanctions against Mali

May 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, May 21 (UPI) -- Members of an African economic union called on the leader of the coup in Mali to refrain from making statements suggesting he still controls the country.

Rebel Capt. Amadou Sanogo led the overthrow of the civilian government in Mali in March. Military leaders were said to be frustrated with northern rebels, who've since declared autonomy for their part of the country.

Amnesty International, in a 32-page report published Wednesday, said there was mass displacement, arbitrary detention, sexual violence and the use of child soldiers among rebel forces in the north of the country

Members of the Economic Community of West African States, meanwhile, expressed concern that Sanogo was derailing efforts to usher in a new government in the country, calling on the junta leader to refrain from making public statements that imply he's still in control.

ECOWAS said, in a statement, it was considering sweeping sanctions against Mali if Sanogo refused to address lingering concerns.

Sanctions may include a freeze on coup leader's assets, a travel ban and suspension of Mali's membership in the economic bloc.

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