By John Ikani
Mali’s interim President, Assimi Goita, has been targeted in an attempted stabbing attack, after Eid al-Adha prayers at the Grand Mosque in the capital city of Bamako, his office said.
“The attacker was immediately overpowered by security. Investigations are ongoing,” the presidency said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
The interim leader was whisked away, according to an AFP news agency journalist, who also said he saw blood at the scene, though it was not clear who had been wounded.
Later on Tuesday, Goita announced that he was doing “very well” following the attack.
“That’s part of being a leader, there are always malcontents,” he said in a statement broadcast on state television channel ORTM.
“There are people who at any time may want to try things to cause instability.”
Colonel Assimi Goita — the leader of two coups in nine months in Mali — was sworn in as transitional president on June 7.
Goita was initially interim vice president after leading the coup last August that overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
In May, he ordered the arrests of President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane who shortly resigned while in detention. The duo were later released.
In the same month, Mali’s constitutional court declared Goita to be the new interim president.
The court said in its ruling that Goita should fill the vacancy left by Ndaw’s resignation “to lead the transition process to its conclusion” and carry the title of “president of the transition, head of state”.