Suspect in attack on Mali’s president dies in custody

July 26, 2021 GMT

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A man detained for attempting to stab Mali’s transitional president last week has died in a hospital while in custody, the government said.

The attempted stabbing of Col. Assimi Goita was on July 20 at a public ceremony at the Great Mosque in the capital, Bamako, to celebrate the Muslim holiday of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha. Goita, a special forces colonel who staged two coups within nine months and is now Mali’s transitional leader, was unharmed in the attack.

Suspects were detained and an investigation into the attack was opened.

“The perpetrator was immediately apprehended by the security services. During the investigations ... his state of health deteriorated,” according to a government statement issued Sunday.

The suspect was admitted to the hospital where he died, the government said, adding that an investigation into the cause of his death will be carried out.


After the two coups, Mali is currently in a fragile transition process to take the country to democratic elections next year. Attacks by jihadist groups in northern and central Mali are making security even more unstable in the capital.

Goita grabbed power in August 2020 by overthrowing Mali’s democratically elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who had only served two years of his five-year term after being re-elected in 2018. Goita eventually agreed to a transitional government led by a civilian president, Bah N’Daw, and a prime minister. Goita served as transitional vice president. Then, on May 24 Goita ousted those civilian leaders after they announced a Cabinet reshuffle that sidelined two junta supporters without consulting him.

Goita was then sworn in as president of the transitional government in June. He has pledged to keep the country on track to return to civilian rule with an election in February 2022.