The Malian interim president, Assimi Goita survived an assassination attempt, while offering Eid al-Adha prayers at the Grand Mosque in the capital, Bamako.
The country’s Religious Affairs Minister, Mamadou Kone told the media on Tuesday July 20 that a man had “tried to kill the president with a knife” but was arrested. The attack occurred as an imam was directing worshippers outside the mosque for a ritual animal sacrifice.
According to an AFP news agency journalist who also said he saw blood at the scene of the attack, said Goita was whisked away, though it was not clear who had been wounded.
Goita announced later on Tuesday that he was doing “very well” following the attack. In a statement broadcast on state television channel ORTM, the interim President said;
“That’s part of being a leader, there are always malcontents.
“There are people who at any time may want to try things to cause instability.”
An Al Jazeera reporter broadcasting from Abuja Nigeria, Ahmed Idris, disclosed that the attacker “posed as an usher” for the mosque.
“When Goita was passing by, he [the attacker] lunged at him. Another report said he was stabbed in the arm, but these are not confirmed yet.
“Right now we’re not clear whether the attacker is a member of the armed groups that have been operating in Mali and across the border in Burkina Faso and Niger. Or a military officer or even a civilian who is not happy with the government,” Idris said.
The attack is fallout of months of political turmoil in Mali, a country also battling an Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
38-year-old Colonel Goita was sworn-in June, 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 planned by Goita and other army officers, ousted elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of mass protests over corruption and the long-running conflict.