Mali’s interim president Colonel Assimi Goita, who took power in June after leading a coup – the second in less than a year – is safe after what his office has called an assassination attempt.
Two men, one with a knife, attacked Goita Tuesday after prayers at the Great Mosque of Bamako for the Eid al-Adha festival, known as Tabaski, in West Africa.
The president’s office said the attack was an assassination attempt, and that Goita was “safe and sound” in the Kati military camp outside the capital, “where security has been reinforced.”
The men attacked Goita as an imam was directing worshippers outside the mosque for a ritual animal sacrifice, as part of the holiday.
“The attacker was immediately overpowered by security. Investigations are ongoing,” the presidency said.
Goita lead other army officers in a coup in August to push out president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, following weeks of mass protests over corruption.
It was the second coup in nine months, and prompted the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union to suspend Mali, calling for the appointment of a civilian prime minister.
The military handed power to a civilian-led transitional government, which appointed military figures to key roles.
Goita, as interim president, promised “credible, fair and transparent elections” and a handover to civilian rule by June 2022.
France, which has thousands of troops stationed in the country to help battle a jihadist insurgency, suspended military cooperation after the coup, and later announced it would wind down the Barkhane force that has been fighting jihadists in the Sahel since 2013.