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Coup: ECOWAS suspends Mali

The West Africa bloc ECOWAS on Tuesday condemned a military putsch in Mali and pledged a range of retaliatory actions, including financial sanctions.

Rebel soldiers arrested Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse on Tuesday afternoon following weeks of political tension in the country.

The dramatic move followed the seizure of an army base near the capital Bamako that morning.

In a statement, the Economic Community for West African States said that its members would close land and air borders to Mali and pledged to demand sanctions against “all the putschists and their partners and collaborators”.

The 15-nation bloc – which includes Mali – also said that it would suspend the country from its internal decision-making bodies.

“ECOWAS has noted with great concern the seizure of power by Malian military putschists,” said the statement, which was originally published in French.

Mali has been in the grip of a deep political impasse since June, with President Keita facing increasingly strident demands for his resignation.

The opposition June 5 Movement, named for the date of its first protest, has been channelling deep anger over a dire economy, perceived government corruption and a brutal jihadist conflict.

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