by Stanley Azuakola
Diancounda Traore, the Malian interim president was hospitalised yesterday after protesters burst into his office and beat him up.
Eyewitnesses report that the soldiers who stood guard at the presidential palace stood by and did nothing as civilians entered buildings on the compound. Some of the protesters even parked their bikes in rooms in the palace.
Multiple accounts say the beating was very severe and the president was immediately rushed to the hospital. It is unclear if he has been released yet.
Mali has been in a state of crisis ever since the Captain Amadou Sango led coup on March 22. Under an ECOWAS brokered deal, Diancounda Traore, 70, the former parliament speaker who wasn’t part of the coup, is expected to remain in his position as interim president for 12 months.
The coup leader Amadou Sango was offered a very favourable deal which will see him receive all the benefits accorded to a former president including housing, transport, security and an allowance. This is in addition to the amnesty recently granted him by the parliament.
The protesting Malians are divided into two groups. One group feel betrayed by Traore for accepting the arrangement which gives the coup plotter all those benefits, while some other are being motivated by pro-coup politicians.
Mali, one of West Africa’s most stable democracies, was plunged into crisis when Sanogo led other low ranking soldiers in ousting the government of Amadou Toumani Toure in March 2012.