West African nations will close their borders with Mali, sever diplomatic ties and impose tough economic sanctions in response to its “unacceptable” delay in holding elections following a 2020 military coup, the 15-state regional bloc said on Sunday. In a communique issued after an emergency summit in the Ghanaian capital Accra, ECOWAS said this schedule “simply means that an illegitimate military transition government will take the Malian people hostage,” ECOWAS added. The organization said it had agreed to impose additional sanctions with immediate effect. These included the closure of members’ land and air borders with Mali, the suspension of non-essential financial transactions, the freezing of Malian state assets in ECOWAS commercial banks and recalling their ambassadors from Bamako. Meanwhile, regional monetary union UEMOA instructed all financial institutions under its umbrella to suspend Mali with immediate effect, severing the country’s access to regional financial markets.