Mali under embargo: Why is the ECOWAS regional bloc falling hard against the junta?

Why do Mali’s neighbors fall hard? A harsh embargo has been imposed after coup leaders in the inland West African state renounced their promise of a speedy return to civilian rule. How hard? We are talking border closures and trade embargoes. It’s not as if the region has never seen a coup before: look no further than neighboring Guinea.

But a coup within a coup in Bamako and the breaking of election promises have put the junta in the regional body ECOWAS dog kennel. We discuss Colonel Assimi Goïta’s reaction. He blames the invisible hand of foreign powers – which all presuppose means France, the former colonial power that still has 4,800 soldiers deployed in the fight against jihadist insurgents in the north.

Supporters of the junta say it is sour grapes from French authorities that are firmly opposed to a growing Russian presence that includes Wagner’s mercenaries. But Africans also have peacekeepers deployed to Mali. Nor are they enthusiastic about the possibility of crossing roads with the Russians.

Produced by Charles Wente, Juliette Laurain and Léopoldine Iribarren.

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