Armed men try to stab Mali’s interim president

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Two gunmen, including one who used a knife, attacked Mali’s interim president Assimi Goita on Tuesday in the Grand Mosque in Bamako in the country’s capital, a journalist from the Agence France-Presse (AFP) who was at the scene said.

The attack took place during prayers for the Islamic festival Eid al-Adha.

Goita has since been taken from the scene, according to the journalist, who said it was not immediately clear if he had been injured.

Religious Affairs Minister Mamadou Kone told AFP that a man “tried to kill the president with a knife” but was arrested.

Latus Toure, the mosque director, said an assailant had lunged at the president but injured someone else.

AFP could not immediately confirm the accounts.

Mali has fought to quell an uprising that first erupted in the north of the country in 2012 and has since spread to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

The conflict has also been reflected in political instability in the capital.

Colonel Goita led a coup in August last year and fired President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of mass protests over corruption and the protracted extremist conflict.

In May, he fired a transitional government that had been tasked with leading the country back to civilian rule in February 2022.

He was then appointed interim president, but has promised to stick to the goal of returning to the civilian government.

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