Malian Authorities Question Dozens in Presidential Attack Probe

Posted May 29th, 2012 at 6:25 am (UTC-5)
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A Malian government spokesman says authorities have called in 50 people as part of an investigation into the attack last week on interim president Dioncounda Traore.

Mr. Traore was injured when protesters overpowered guards at the presidential palace and attacked him in his office.

Spokesman Hamadoune Toure told VOA the government would not disclose any names because of the ongoing investigation or say how many people have been arrested, but that those questioned include protesters.

“It's members of the civil society, demonstrators, part of the mob and leaders of the demonstration. So we have all parts of the civil society. Some of them are political actors, and some of them are from the civil society.”

He said the government is committed to press freedom and protecting journalists, but criticized some Malian media for broadcasting what he called “inflammatory messages.”

“Some of the media are really fueling the hatred, inciting violence, inciting very violent demonstrations and also to try and divide the country.”

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

Under pressure from neighboring countries, coup leaders allowed a return to civilian rule. Mr. Traore was inaugurated as interim leader and formed a government.

Coup leaders initially rejected ECOWAS proposals for Mr. Traore to stay on for a 12-month transition period, but later signed a deal to allow him to remain in charge to organize elections.

Hundreds of people protested the agreement in the capital, Bamako, with some demonstrators attacking Mr. Traore.