News / Africa

Attack on Mali's Interim President Sparks Condemnation

Protesters occupy Mali's presidential palace in the capital Bamako, May 21, 2012.Protesters occupy Mali's presidential palace in the capital Bamako, May 21, 2012.
x
Protesters occupy Mali's presidential palace in the capital Bamako, May 21, 2012.
Protesters occupy Mali's presidential palace in the capital Bamako, May 21, 2012.
Anne Look
BAMAKO, Mali - Mali residents are expressing shock at an attack on the country's interim president by protesters unhappy with an agreement to let him stay in office for a year. West African leaders have condemned the attack and threatened sanctions on those it finds responsible for trying to block a return to civilian government, two months after a military coup.

Tuesday marks the end of Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore's initial 40-day mandate.

However, the soldiers who ousted the nation's previous leader in March signed a deal Sunday with West African regional bloc ECOWAS.  The accord keeps Traore in charge for one year to organize elections.

Hundreds protested that agreement Monday in Bamako.

They screamed "Down with ECOWAS" and "Mali is a sovereign nation.  Mali can choose its own president."

Protesters broke down the door to Traore's office at the palace and beat him unconscious after demanding he step down.  

The interim leader has been released from the hospital where he was treated for what his staff said were not life-threatening head wounds.

Some see Traore as part of a much-disliked political elite.  As head of the National Assembly, Traore was designated by Mali's constitution to take the reins following the military coup.  

Speaking on state TV Monday night, interim Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra said what happened was shameful.  He called on those who took to the streets to stop protesting.  He said vandalism and looting are not what the country needs right now.

Banks were closed in Bamako Tuesday, fearing further unrest.  However, the capital was calm.

Malians, even those opposed to the ECOWAS decision, expressed shock and dismay at Monday's attack.

Diakite Boubacar says they should respect the institution of the presidency.  He says it is a question of Mali's honor.  He says he doesn't want Traore to stay in power, but he is against the attack.  He says they can deal with this situation without physically attacking him.

Suspicion has fallen on pro-junta soldiers who may have helped protesters enter the palace.

Bamako resident Fadala Toure asks how could a protest that began at 9 a.m. on the other side of the city wind up at the presidential palace?  She says she doesn't understand how people could have gotten inside to assault the president.  

ECOWAS says it is investigating how the attack could take place despite security at the palace. The bloc also says it will impose sanctions against those it finds to be orchestrating unrest aimed at derailing the return to constitutional order.

 U.N. Security Council representatives, on a visit to Ivory Coast Monday, reiterated their support for ECOWAS efforts in Mali.

Geraud Araud, France's permanent representative to the United Nations, says ECOWAS' diplomatic efforts have been conducted with a lot of courage, perseverance and determination to find a solution based on the departure of the military junta.  He says he doesn't want to say that these efforts have now failed but they have been put in considerable danger by these latest developments.  He says it may be necessary to consider other avenues.

The accord that junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo signed with ECOWAS Sunday gives him the status and privileges of a former head of state.  However, it is unclear what role he will play in the year to come.  The captain continued to exercise considerable influence even after Traore's interim government was put in place April 12.  

Northern Mali remains in the hands of armed groups that seized power in the days following the coup, effectively cutting the country in half.

ECOWAS has offered to deploy regional peacekeepers to Mali. The nation's military, already unable to halt the rebellion in the north earlier this year, is in shambles following the coup. Analysts say the situation in the north is unlikely to change in the near future.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid