Mali Interim President Flown to Paris for Medical Tests

Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
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An aide to Mali's interim president says the leader is being flown to Paris for medical tests, after being assaulted by protesters in the presidential palace.

Chief of Staff Issa Togo confirmed to VOA that interim leader Dioncounda Traore departed for France on Wednesday.

Togo said Mr. Traore was injured above the eye and forehead, but that he was fine and had resumed his work on Tuesday. He downplayed the trip, saying the interim leader travels to Paris every year at this time for a medical check-up.

Attackers broke into the presidential palace on Monday.

Many suspect that pro-junta soldiers were involved in the attack, which was quickly condemned around the world.

Protesters claimed they were angry that the civilian leader's mandate had been extended beyond Tuesday's deadline.

The mandate calls for Mr. Traore to organize elections meant to return the country to civilian rule, following a coup in March.

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 press 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.