News24

Mali police question assault suspects

2012-05-25 22:00

Bamako - Malian paramilitary police on Friday questioned three leaders of a pro-coup coalition which called a protest during which the country's transition president Dioncounda Traore was physically assaulted.

The Committee of Malian Patriotic Organisations (Copam), which supported a 22 March coup, said in a statement that three of its leaders were "interrogated for several hours about the assault before being released."

Those questioned were politician Younouss Hameye Dicko, lawyer Mamadou Gakou and Muslim preacher Soufi Bilal.

Protesters angry at the signing of an agreement on Sunday which puts former speaker Traore as the head of a 12-month transition, besieged his offices and physically attacked him on Monday.

The deal was mediated by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), who Copam accuses of imposing its will on the Malian people. The grouping wants coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo to head the transition.

Copam spokesman Nouhoum Keita said the attack was a "popular reaction, spontaneous, blind and completely uncontrolled ... directly caused by a series of unacceptable acts" by Ecowas and Mali's leaders.

"To create a peaceful climate and find a solution out of the crisis, it is imperative that Ecowas lets the Malian people decide their own destiny through consultation and democratic dialogue," he said.