Assimi Goita, Mali’s interim President, has been targeted in an attempted stabbing attack after Eid al-Adha prayers at the Grand Mosque in the capital, Bamako.
The presidency said in a Twitter post on Tuesday:
The attacker was immediately overpowered by security. Investigations are ongoing.
According to reports from the scene of the incident, the interim leader was whisked away, but there was blood at the scene and it was not clear who had been wounded.
Later on Tuesday, Goita announced that he was doing “very well” following the attack.
In a statement broadcast on state television channel, ORTM, Goita said:
That’s part of being a leader, there are always malcontents.
There are people who at any time may want to try things to cause instability.
The attack happened as an imam was directing worshippers outside the mosque for a ritual animal sacrifice.
Religious affairs minister, Mamadou Kone, said that a man had “tried to kill the president with a knife” but was apprehended.
Goita was sworn into office last month despite facing a diplomatic backlash over his second power grab in nine months.
In August 2020, the 38-year-old had led a military coup that removed embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after months of anti-government protests over perceived corruption and the failure to tackle a deteriorating security crisis that first emerged in 2012.
In late May, Goita, who was serving as Mali’s vice president in a transitional government tasked with leading the country back to civilian rule in February 2022, seized power again after accusing interim President, Bah Ndaw, and Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane, of failing to consult him about a cabinet reshuffle.
Mali has been unsettled since 2012 when mutinous soldiers overthrew the president who had been in power for a decade.
The power vacuum led to an Islamic uprising that took control of the country’s northern cities, including Timbuktu and Gao.