Mali Interim President Flown to Paris for Medical Tests

Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 4:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Mali's interim president Diouncounda Traore, attacked by protesters who forced their way into the presidential palace this week, went to Paris Wednesday to seek medical treatment.

The interim leader's former chief of staff, Issa Togo, confirmed the trip to VOA . He said Mr. Traore was injured on his 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 attack on the 70-year-old interim leader has sparked condemnation around the world. Some criticized what they called the “passive complicity” of security forces who allowed the unarmed mob into the palace.

The transitional government and West African regional bloc ECOWAS said the attack was being investigated.

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 in March.

Mediators from ECOWAS signed a deal Sunday with coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo to extend Mr. Traore's mandate for one year to organize elections.

On Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the military to protect its interim president and for the perpetrators of the attack to be held responsible.

Members of the pro-junta political coalition, COPAM, told VOA Wednesday they have chosen Captain Sanogo to replace Mr. Traore as head of the transition.

But no official announcement has been made and a public meeting planned for Wednesday was canceled for “security reasons.”