Interim president of Mali injured, witness says

Associated Press

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Demonstrators attacked the interim president at his office Monday, knocking him unconscious, a witness and a presidential collaborator said.

Dioncounda Traore was brought to the Point G Hospital, said Sekou Yattara, a medical student there.

Yattara said Traore had suffered an injury to the head. The interim leader was not conscious when he was brought in, Yattara said.

A close collaborator of Traore said that he learned from the president's body guard that the president was injured when protesters broke into his office which is in a building next to the presidential palace. Traore had not been using offices in the palace itself as that building was ransacked during a coup in March.

The collaborator could not be named because he was not permitted to speak to the press.

Thousands of people had protested at the presidential palace in Bamako on Monday, angry about a deal brokered by regional powers that extended the time Traore would stay in power.

An Associated Press reporter saw protesters break into the palace compound.

Traore became interim president following a deal, negotiated by Mali's neighbors with the military officers that led the March 21 coup. The unexpected military takeover ousted the country's democratically elected president, just months before he was due to step down following the end of his legal term.

Traore remains a divisive figure, because he was the head of the national assembly under the former president, whose popularity had taken a nosedive over his alleged mishandling of a rebellion in the country's north.

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