The secretary-general of the UN called Wednesday for the Security Council to impose sanctions on extremists who have taken over northern Mali.
Ban Ki-Moon said that the council should impose travel and financial sanctions against Islamist fighters who have taken over large swaths of northern Mali and imposed Sharia law.
“Since the start of the crisis earlier this year, we have seen the situation take one alarming turn after another, reaching seemingly new depths with every passing week,” Ban said, reported allAfrica.
“These grave developments have brought enormous suffering to the people of Mali. They also pose a widening threat to international peace and security.”
The rebels became infamous recently after a couple was stoned to death for adultery.
Since a coup in March, 250,000 people have already fled the country and 174,000 have been internally displaced, the Associated Press reported.
The Economic Community of West African States has assembled a military force to intervene in Mali, but has yet to receive formal orders from the country's interim president, who recently returned from exile.
President Dioncounda Traore has said that he will call in the 3000-strong African force once he forms a government, according to the Associated Press.
Security has steadily decreased in northern Mali as Islamist groups struggle for control. Ansar Dine and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, both of which wrested control of the north from the rebels, have sought to make Mali an Islamic state rather than vie for independence like their militant predecessors in the region.