Mali Interim President Flown to Paris for Medical Tests

Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 3:10 pm (UTC-5)
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A close associate of Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore, says the leader has gone to Paris for medical tests after he was assaulted by a mob of protesters in Bamako.

Issa Togo, the interim leader's former chief of staff, confirmed to VOA that Mr. Traore departed for France on Wednesday. He said Mr. Traore was injured above the eye and forehead when he was beaten earlier this week, but that he was fine and had resumed work on Tuesday.

Togo said Mr. Traore travels to Paris every year at this time for a medical checkup.

The interim leader was attacked by protesters who forced their way into Mali's presidential palace on Monday. Many Malians suspect that pro-junta soldiers were involved in the attack, which was quickly condemned around the world.

Protesters said they reacted angrily when they learned that Mr. Traore was to remain Mali's interim president beyond Tuesday, which formerly was a deadline for elections to return the country to civilian rule following a military coup on March 22.

The regional Economic Community of West African States threatened to impose sanctions on the junta if it did not agree to return power to the people.

During a news conference in Bamako Wednesday, an anti-coup coalition known as the Resistance Front condemned what an official described as the “passive complicity” of security forces during the attack on Mr. Traore.

The transitional government and ECOWAS say they are investigating the attack.

On Tuesday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the military to protect its interim president and for those who beat him to be held responsible.

A pro-junta group called COPAM said Wednesday it has chosen the junta's leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo, to replace Mr. Traore as interim leader.