UN Chief Condemns Attack on Mali Leader

Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 4:35 pm (UTC-5)
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned an attack on Mali's interim president Diancounda Traore and urged the country's military to provide better protection.

In a statement issued Tuesday by his spokesman, the U.N. chief called on the Malian military and security institutions to “fulfill their primary function of protecting the state and its legitimate interim authorities.”

Protesters broke into Mali's presidential palace on Monday and attacked and beat Mr. Traore. He was rushed to a hospital in the capital, Bamako. His office says his injuries are not life-threatening.

Secretary-General Ban also underscored the need for those responsible for the attack to be held accountable. He urged all actors in Mali to refrain from any actions that may undermine the transitional process and further endanger peace and stability in the country.

Mali has been in turmoil since March, when a group of soldiers ousted the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure, weeks before a scheduled election.

Under pressure from the neighboring countries, coup leaders allowed a return to civilian rule and Mr. Traore was inaugurated as interim leader and formed a government. The coup leaders initially rejected proposals by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that he stay on for a 12-month transition period.

But on Sunday they signed a deal with the 15-member regional group to allow Mr. Traore to remain in charge for a year to organize elections.

Hundreds of people protested that agreement in the capital Bamako and some people broke into Mr. Traore's office and beat him unconscious after demanding that he step down.

ECOWAS said it is investigating Monday's attack.