Two armed men, one of whom had a knife, attacked Mali's interim president Assimi Goita during prayers in the great mosque in the capital Bamako on 20 July 2021, AFP reports. The president has not been injured, reports suggest, citing local sources.
The attack took place during the holy holiday of Eid al-Adha. The president was taken away from the site, according to the media.
The country's officials later confirmed on social media that the president had been the target of an attempted stabbing attack. The assailants were then detained, and an investigation is ongoing now, authorities say.
This has been at least the third incident globally involving a violent attack to have coincided with the Eid al-Adha holiday. Earlier in the day, several rockets hit near the presidential palace in Kabul shortly before Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was about to address people to mark the major Muslim holiday. Prior to that, a blast hit a market in eastern Baghdad, Iraq on 19 July, on the eve of the holiday, killing more than 30 people.
Earlier in May, members of Mali's military arrested Malian Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, Acting President Bah Ndaw, and Defence Minister Souleymane Doucoure. Later in the month, the military junta led by then-Acting Vice President Colonel Assimi Goita announced the resignations of the prime minister and interim president. Goita also led the coup in August 2020 that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Over the last several years, Mali has been dealing with an jihadist insurgency that first surfaced in the country's north in 2012, and has since spread to Burkina Faso and Niger. On top of that, the country has been mired in an economic meltdown and political crisis over recent years.