from RUDD KONTE in Bamako, Mali
BAMAKO, (CAJ News) – AN attempt on the life of Malian interim president, Col. Assimi Goïta, is the latest crisis to hit the West African country synonymous with conflict.
The military officer survived a knife attack on Tuesday at the Grand Mosque in the capital Bamako during the festivities for the Eid al-Adha or Feast of the Sacrifice, Muslim rite.
The Presidency confirmed the attack, stating, “The attacker was immediately overpowered by close security.”
It later emerged two men had been arrested for what is being investigated as an assassination attempt.
“Investigations are ongoing,” the presidency stated.
Goïta, during a televised address, assured the nation was “very well.”
EL-Ghassim Wane, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) denounced the attack.
“I condemn the attempted stabbing attack against the President of the Transition on the occasion of the great prayer marking the celebration of Tabaski 2021. I reaffirm the support of MINUSMA to the Transition underway at Mali,” UN’s top envoy stated.
MINUSMA, in a statement, condemned the act as cowardly.
In what attests to the crisis in the country of 20 million people, Goïta has masterminded two coups in nine months.
He led a group of rebels that overthrew Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in May 2020. Goïta again seized power in May this year after deposing Bah Ndaw.
The African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have subsequently suspended Mali.
Mali has suffered five coups since independence from France in 1960.
Inaugural president, Modibo Keïta (now late), was overthrown after eight years in power.
His successor and coup plotter, Moussa Traoré (late), led from 1968 until his ouster 22 years later.
Before the recent back-to-back coups by Goïta, the last coup was against Amadou Toumani Touré (late), overthrown in 2012 after serving nine years into his second stint as president.
MINUSMA, with a strength of 15 200 personnel was deployed in 2013 following a rebellion by Islamists north of the country.
It has become the UN’s most dangerous peacekeeping mission, with 209 peacekeepers killed.
– CAJ News