Mali prohibits movement of civilians in border area with Mauritania
Malian authorities, dominated by the military, announced on Sunday that they were banning the movement of civilians in the border area with Mauritania, where a number of Mauritanians disappeared in early March.
They also announced the opening of an investigation by the military court in Bamako.
These disappearances, two months after the death of seven Mauritanians on Malian territory in early January, triggered tension with Mauritania at a time when the Malian junta, under international pressure, was trying to strengthen ties with its neighbor.
Mauritania has openly accused the Malian army of “recurring criminal acts” against its citizens.
Mali sent a mission to Mauritania on Friday and Saturday to try to appease Nouakchott.
The two countries have agreed to create a joint mission to investigate the disappearances, a joint statement issued Saturday said.
Mali will share “as soon as possible” the fruits of the investigation it promised after the January deaths, the results of which are still pending, much to Mauritanian frustration. The two countries have agreed to establish joint patrols in the border area.
Malian government spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga announced in a statement Sunday that “the military authorities (had) decided to strictly prohibit any movement of civilians in the areas of the Wagadou forest and the Gringalé forest,” in the area where the Mauritanians disappeared.