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Mali opens probe into attempted assasination of interim president Assimi Goita

Mali's interim president Assimi Goita at the Grande Mosque Bamako (centre)   -  
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MALICK KONATE/AFP or licensors


Authorities in Mali on Wednesday said they had opened a probe into an attempt to assassinate strongman interim president Assimi Goita,

Goita was the figure behind two coups in less than a year in the Sahelian country.

Prosecutor Bourama Kariba Konate said in a statement that an inquiry has been opened “to shed light on the event.”

Goita was whisked away after a man armed with a knife lunged at him after prayers for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha at a mosque in Bamako. He later appeared on state TV to say he was doing “very well” and downplayed the significance of the assault.

The suspect has been described only as a teacher but most of his identity has not been revealed.

He remained in custody on Wednesday while police interviewed witnesses, commissioner Sadio Tomoda told AFP.

Bamako was calm after the assault, according to AFP journalists. Wednesday was a public holiday to mark the Eid Muslim festival.

The attack capped months of political turmoil in Mali.

Goita, a special forces colonel in his late thirties, staged a coup last August that ousted elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of protests over graft and rising insecurity arising from jihadist insurgency in the north.