Mali junta says relaxing border closures

2012-03-26 18:27

Bamako - Mali's junta on Monday allowed for the partial re-opening of the country's borders which had been closed after a coup, mostly to allow the transport of basic goods into the country.

"The Malian airspace is open only to civilian aircraft from 08:00 GMT on Monday to 01:00 GMT," according to a statement read by a soldier on public television.

Land border restrictions would also be relaxed.

There are South Africans still stuck in Mali after the coup d’état in the West African nation, the department of international relations says.

"Nobody can go into Mali", said spokesperson Clayson Monyela.

Monyela said on Saturday they did not have a count of how many South Africans could be stranded in the West African nation.

The Witness reports KwaZulu-Natal electrician Warren Blomeyer is still stranded in Mali after last week’s coup, but has moved to a safer area and hopes to return home on Tuesday.

Over the weekend he moved from the capital Bamako to Markala, four hours away, where he does not have to endure the sound of gunfire.

The young electrician had been preparing to board a flight home when his Kenyan Airways flight was grounded last Tuesday.

After staying in the Olympe International Hotel in Bamako, he headed back to Markala, away from the heart of the fighting.

Blomeyer’s company has been contracted to work on an Illovo Sugar project in Mali’s Ségou region, which will see a cane estate established and a mill, ethanol plant and power generation facility built.