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Mali says interim president survives assassination attempt

July 20, 2021

The interim leader had to be whisked away from prayers during the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha in the capital Bamako. Goita, who was sworn in last month, is said to be "safe and sound."

Assimi Goita
Assimi Goita is the Mali interim presidentImage: Annie Risemberg/AFP/Getty Images

Mali's interim President Assimi Goita survived a knife attack on Tuesday, according to the government.

The incident occurred at the great mosque, in the capital Bamako, during prayers for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, meaning "Festival of the Sacrifice."

Goita had since been taken from the scene, AFP reported, while an official at the presidency said he was unharmed.

Religious Affairs Minister Mamadou Kone told the news agency that a man had "tried to kill the president with a knife" but was apprehended.

"The attacker was immediately subdued by security," the presidency's official Twitter account posted. "Investigations are ongoing."

Seizing power

The attack follows months of political turmoil in Mali, which is also battling an Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

In June, Colonel Goita was sworn in as the transitional president after leading an internationally condemned coup. It was the second time he had led such a coup, after a similar putsch in August 2020. The initial coup, orchestrated by Goita and other army officers, ousted elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of mass protests over corruption and the long-running conflict.

jsi/rc (AFP, epd)