UN imposes sanctions on Guinea-Bissau coup leaders

AP News

5/18/2012 9:50:36 PM - AP News

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to impose sanctions on the leaders of last month's military coup in Guinea-Bissau and key supporters, demanding they reinstate the legitimate democratic government immediately.

A resolution adopted by the council named four generals and one lieutenant colonel who will be subject to a travel ban. It warned that the council will consider strengthening sanctions by adding an arms embargo and freezing financial assets if constitutional order is not restored.

Those subject to a travel ban are Lt. Gen. Antonio Injai, who read the first communique issued after the coup; Maj. Gen. Mamadu Ture, the deputy armed forces chief; Gen. Estevao Na Mena, the armed forces inspector general; Brig. Gen. Ibraima Camara, the air force chief of staff; and Lt. Col. Daba Naualna, spokesman for the new "Military Command."

The Security Council made clear that other individuals may be added to the list by the committee it established to monitor implementation of the sanctions.

Guinea-Bissau was just weeks away from holding a presidential runoff election when soldiers attacked the front-runner's home and arrested him along with the country's interim president on April 12. They have since fled the country.

No leader in nearly 40 years of independence has completed his term in Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony on Africa's western coast that has long been plagued by coups and has become a major transit point for drug trafficking from South America to Europe.

The resolution demands that "the military command takes immediate steps to restore and respect constitutional order" and heed its previous call to resume the electoral process interrupted by the coup.

It encourages the west African regional group ECOWAS to continue its mediation efforts aimed at restoring constitutional order.

ECOWAS says it is sending about 600 troops to Guinea-Bissau in the coming days to try to restore order. The first 70 troops arrived Thursday from Burkina Faso.

Politicians in the country are moving ahead with a transitional government but the Security Council made clear it wants the previous government restored.

Ambassador Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral of Portugal, which sponsored the resolution, said the council had again "sent a strong message of condemnation and reiterated its policy of zero tolerance towards unconstitutional seizures of power."

The Security Council expressed concern that the military interference in the political process and the impact of illicit drug trafficking and organized crime in Guinea-Bissau "have significantly hampered efforts to establish rule of law and good governance and tackle impunity and corruption."

The council also expressed "deep concern" at the possible increase in drug trafficking since the coup as well as reports of human rights violations, the repression of peaceful demonstrations, and looting, including of state assets.