Ecowas threatens sanctions for attack on Mali's president

Ecowas chair Alassane Ouattara (right) with Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

Ecowas chair Alassane Ouattara (right) with Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore. (Issouf Sanogo, AFP)

The 15-nation Ecowas on Tuesday condemned the attack, which saw Traore beaten by angry protesters who pushed their way past security into his office, saying it was a “defiance” of their decisions.
 
Ecowas “will carry out the necessary investigation to identify those responsible for this reprehensible attack and will apply the required sanctions”, said Kadré Desire Ouedraogo, head of the Ecowas commission, in a statement.
 
Traore, former speaker of Parliament, was sworn in as interim leader on April 12 following the ouster of president Amadou Toumani Toure’s government on March 22.
 
But while Ecowas wanted him to lead a 12-month transition back to democratic rule, the former junta demanded he step down after a constitutionally mandated period of 40 days, leading to a stalemate in negotiations.
 
But the bloc cracked the impasse in mediations on Sunday, offering coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo the status of former head of state and securing his signature on a deal that would see Traore stay on and organise elections.
 
Just hours after the deal was signed angry protests erupted against the accord, as those supporting the coup railed against Traore – a member of the ousted government – staying on as transition president.
 
Protesters besieged his offices and beat him badly enough to require a visit to hospital, earning condemnation at home and abroad and raising fears the transition was once again on the rails.
 
“Ecowas is shocked that a crowd of protesters could access the president with such ease and physically attack him,” said Ouedraogo.
 
“The frequency of such protests following Ecowas’s decision for a return to constitutional order shows they are being orchestrated by people who have decided to hinder the transition process.”
 
He added that Ecowas remained determined to carry out efforts to restore constitutional order. – AFP
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