Mali’s interim leader reportedly “safe and sound,” after armed men attack
Assimi Goita, the Mali’s interim president was “safe and sound,” his office announced, after an AFP journalist said he had been attacked on Tuesday by two armed men, one of whom wielded a knife, in the great mosque in the capital Bamako.
The interim president was said to have been attacked during prayers for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha.
Goita was taken from the scene, according to the journalist, who said it was not immediately clear whether he had been wounded.
An official at the presidency later said Goita was “safe and sound.”
Goita arrived at the military camp of Kati, outside the capital, “where security has been reinforced,” the official said.
Religious Affairs Minister Mamadou Kone told AFP that a man had “tried to kill the president with a knife” but was apprehended.
Latus Toure, the director of the mosque, said an attacker had lunged at the president but wounded someone else.
The shocking attack follows months of political turmoil in Mali, which is also battling a jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.
Goita was sworn into power in June, after leading the country’s second coup in less than a year.
The colonel had already led a putsch last August, when he and other army officers ousted elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of mass protests over corruption and the long-running jihadist conflict.
The second coup in nine months sparked diplomatic uproar, prompting the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to suspend Mali, calling for the appointment of a civilian prime minister.
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