UN slaps sanctions on top Guinea Bissau junta leaders By AFP | Saturday, May 19 2012 at 15:19
The UN Security Council unanimously ordered sanctions 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 chief of staff General Antonio Indjai.
The European Union 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 Portugal's UN ambassador 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, Mr Cabral told the council after the resolution was passed.
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 of the pillaging of state funds.
The resolution demanded that "the military command takes immediate steps to respect constitutional order."
It ordered the travel ban against Gen Indjai, his deputy Maj Genl Mamadu Ture and top officers Gen Estevao Na Mena, Brig Gen Ibraima Camara and Lt Col 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.
The 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 stabilisation force and help "the restoration of constitutional rule."
Ecowas leaders and UN officials are to meet in Abidjan on Saturday to discuss the coups in Guinea-Bissau and Mali, where soldiers overthrew the government in March.
UN leader 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 United Nations 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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Beyond the ballot