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Attackers Attempt to Stab Mali Interim President

New interim Malian President, Colonel Assimi Goita, center, stands with members of the Supreme Court during his swearing in ceremony in Bamako on June 7, 2021.

An official at Mali's presidency said Tuesday that interim leader Assimi Goita was "safe and sound" after armed men attacked him during a religious ceremony in the capital Bamako.

The official added that Goita had arrived at the military camp of Kati, outside Bamako, "where security has been reinforced".

Two armed men, including one who wielded a knife, attacked Goita in the great mosque in the capital Bamako, an AFP journalist saw.

The attack took place during prayers for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha.

Religious Affairs Minister Mamadou Kone told AFP that a man had "tried to kill the president with a knife" but was apprehended.

Latus Toure, the director of the Great Mosque, said an attacker had lunged for the president but wounded someone else.

AFP was not immediately able to confirm the accounts.

Mali has been struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency that first emerged in the north of the country in 2012, and has since spread to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

The conflict has also been mirrored by political instability in the capital.

Colonel Goita led a coup last August, ousting elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of mass protests over corruption and the long-running jihadist conflict.

In May, he ousted a transitional government that had been entrusted with the task of leading the country back to civilian rule in February 2022.

He was then named transitional president, but has pledged to keep to the goal for returning to civilian government.

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