CAPE TOWN, January 10 (ANA) - Airlines from Ivory Coast, Senegal and France cancelled flights to Mali on Monday, following a decision by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to close borders with that country and impose sweeping economic sanctions over a proposal from its transitional authorities to postpone elections originally agreed for next month, to December 2025.
The regional bloc held an extraordinary summit on the political situation in Mali in Ghana’s capital Accra on Sunday. West African leaders backed tough new sanctions on Mali, including road and air border closures and a trade embargo.
According to news website PM News Nigeria, among the sanctions is the withdrawal of ambassadors and the suspension of financial transactions.
Ivory Coast’s national carrier Air Cote d’Ivoire halted flights to the Mali capital Bamako on Monday.
Senegal soon followed suit with its national carrier saying in a statement on Monday: “Following the decision to close the borders with Mali by Ecowas for an indefinite period, Air Senegal announces the suspension of flights to and from Bamako as of January 10, 2022 inclusive.”
“Customers affected by a flight cancellation will be able to benefit from a credit note valid for one year or request a refund of their ticket,” the carrier added.
Nigerian online news publication Independent cited a spokesperson for Air France as saying the airline had also cancelled flights because of security risks, without providing further detail.
The head of Mali’s airports, Lassina Togola, said in a statement that Air France flights were cancelled on Monday but not suspended long term.
According to local media, Guinea’s transitional authorities said on Monday they were not associated with Ecowas’s decision to sanction Mali, and that the two countries’ shared border would remain open.
The regional bloc suspended Guinea’s membership in September after its own military coup.
The Mali war is an ongoing armed conflict that started in January 2012 between the northern and southern parts of the country.
– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa