Passengers at the Mali-Mauritania border in limbo after ECOWAS’ sanctions bite harder

Passengers at the Mali-Mauritania border in limbo after ECOWAS’ sanctions bite harder [Image: courtesy]
West Africa—Solitude has taken the better of bus stations in Mali, as foreign travelers are left at crossroads after the West African countries closed their borders with the military characterized nation.

One of the major bus companies in the region, Africa Tours Trans offering traveling services in the region has been left counting losses with no clear future step.

By late Friday morning, only one bus arrived at its station in Bamako, coming from the central Malian city of Sevare.

Images tell that the would-be passengers are hanging out next to their luggage, left in the limbo of the recent border closure.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed to close borders with Mali and impose a trade embargo on delayed elections on Sunday.

It is a step hatched after Mali’s military-led government last month proposed to stay in power for up to five years before restoring democracy ̵

Notwithstanding international demands that it honors a promise to hold elections on Feb. 27.

Relations between Mali and its neighbors have continued to deteriorate since Colonel Assimi Goita came to power in a military coup in August 2020.

These restrictions are already affecting travelers to Mali, a vast country of 19 million people that borders seven other states.

“But we’ll deal with it because we have no choice. We follow the government”. Said a tout working in the Malian based commuter.

However, some passengers are opting to cross the border on foot, luggage in hand, before boarding the bus on the other side.

“That’s how we’re doing it on the Ivory Coast border, which has been closed for two years because of the coronavirus,” said a bus driver, who declined to be named.