By Charles Nwoke, Bamako, Mali.
Mali’s interim president, Assimi Goita was today (Tuesday) attacked in the great mosque in the capital Bamako by two armed men, including one who wielded a knife an.
According to an AFP journalist who witnessed the attack, he said the ugly incident took place during prayers for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha.
President Goita has since been taken away from the scene, according to reports.
However, it was not immediately clear whether he had been injured or not.
Mamadou Kone, the Minister of Religious Affairs told news men that a man had “tried to kill the president with a knife” but was quickly arrested.
The Director of the Great Mosque, Latus Toure, revealed that an attacker had lunged for the president but wounded someone else in the congregation.
Mali has since 2012 been struggling to contain an Islamic insurgency that first emerged in the north of the country, and has since spread to Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of military and civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes because of the continuous attacks.
The extremism has equally been motivated by political instability in the capital city of Mali.
In August last year, Colonel Goita led a coup de tat removing the democratically elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of mass protests over corruption allegations and the age long jihadist war.
In May, he inaugurated a transitional government that had been mandated with the task of leading the country back to civilian administration in February 2022.
Goita was then named transitional president, but has promised to keep to the objective of returning power to civilian rule.