Sun, May 20, 2012 - Page 6 News List

UN orders sanctions against coup leaders in Guinea-Bissau

AFP, UNITED NATIONS

The UN Security Council unanimously ordered sanctions on Friday against the leaders of last month’s military coup in Guinea-Bissau and warned it was ready to take new measures.

The 15-nation council ordered a travel ban against five top military officers in the West African nation, led by Bissau-Guinean Army Chief of Staff General Antonio Indjai.

The EU has also ordered sanctions over the April 12 coup and Guinea-Bissau has been suspended by the African Union.

“Coup d’etats against legitimate democratic authorities are simply unacceptable,” said Portuguese Permanent Representative to the UN Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral, whose country drew up the sanctions resolution.

“We are gravely concerned by increasing reports of recurrent human rights violations” by the military command, Cabral told the council.

The Security Council renewed its “strong condemnation” of the coup, which was carried out as the country prepared for the second round of a presidential election. It also expressed concern about reports on the theft of state funds.

The resolution demanded that “the military command takes immediate steps to respect constitutional order.”

It ordered a travel ban against Indjai, Bissau-Guinean Deputy Army Chief of Staff Major General Mamadu Ture and top officers General Estevao Na Mena, Brigadier General Ibraima Camara and Lieutenant Colonel Daba Naualna.

The council said it would be ready to order “the strengthening” of the sanctions including an arms embargo and financial measures, depending on the junta’s compliance with UN resolution 20.

The vote was held on the day that the first 70 soldiers from a West African force arrived in Guinea-Bissau on a mission to restore stability.

Soldiers from Burkina Faso arrived just after the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) announced it was deploying 629 soldiers to Guinea-Bissau to relieve an Angolan stabilization force and help “the restoration of constitutional rule.”

ECOWAS leaders and UN officials were to meet in Abidjan yesterday to discuss the coups in Guinea-Bissau and Mali, where soldiers overthrew the government in March.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement it was “critical” for the meeting to “send a clear and principled message against unconstitutional seizures of power.”

The UN calls “for the military in both countries to return to their barracks, refrain from any political involvement and to respect civilian authority and the rule of law,” Ban said.

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