UN sanctions three Malians over peace deal breach

2018-12-21 14:00
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The United Nations Security Council on Thursday implemented its first individual sanctions against three Malians linked to armed groups and accused of violating a 2015 peace agreement, according to diplomatic sources.

The council slapped travel bans on Mohamed Ousmane Ag Mohamedoune, secretary general of the Coalition for the People of Azawad, Ahmoudou Ag Asriw of the Imghad Tuareg Self-Defense Group and Allies, and Mahmadou Ag Rhissam, a businessman and member the High Council for Unity of Azawad, the sources said.

It marks the first time the UN has targeted individuals since the 2017 adoption of a general sanctions regime against Mali.

"The sanctions target intermediate officials responsible for blocking the implementation of the peace agreement, particularly because they have links with terrorist groups or drug trafficking activities," explained one diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous.

The sanctions could be expanded to freezing of assets, he added, noting the three concerned regularly move between different countries in the Sahel.

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Mohamedoune is accused of setting up military bases and checkpoints from 2016 in the Timbuktu region. His group is implicated in deadly attacks against Malian forces claimed by the terrorist group JNIM, or Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa'al-Muslimin.

Asriw, meanwhile, is suspected of drug trafficking in northern Mali from 2016, and ceasefire violations in 2017 and 2018. According to the UN, he led the smuggling of four tonnes of cannabis resin to northern Mali via Niger in April 2018.

Rhissa has significant influence in the northern Kidal region. Suspected of terrorist activity, he is also accused of being involved in migrant and petrol trafficking between Kidal and Algeria.

Large areas are outside the control of Malian, French or UN forces, which have been targeted repeatedly in deadly attacks despite a peace agreement with predominantly Tuareg rebels, aimed at isolating jihadist militants.

In recent years, the attacks have extended to central and southern Mali as well as neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Read more on:    un  |  mali  |  west africa
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