Traore attack: Ecowas threatens sanctions
22 May 2012, 14:17
Bamako - The 15-state West African bloc Ecowas warned on Tuesday it
would punish those responsible for orchestrating violence after hundreds
of protesters stormed Mali's presidential palace and beat up interim
leader Dioncounda Traore.
Monday's attack on Traore was the
latest setback for efforts to stabilise Mali after a March 22 coup and a
subsequent rebellion by northern separatists and Islamists now in
charge of two-thirds of the country.
Traore received treatment in hospital for head injuries before moving to a secure location late on Monday.
The attack came days after coup leader Captain
Amadou Sanogo agreed under pressure from Ecowas to allow an extension of
Traore's 40-day mandate as caretaker president charged with leading a
gradual transition back to full civilian rule.
condemns this attack which it considers to be in defiance of its
decisions. It will make the necessary inquiries to establish who ordered
and carried out this reprehensible attack and apply the appropriate
sanctions," it said in a statement.
It questioned how hundreds of
demonstrators could storm the palace so easily given the presence of
security forces and said such protests "were orchestrated by persons
determined to disrupt the normal passage of the transition process".
statements have explicitly warned Sanogo and other coup leaders they
would face targeted sanctions such as foreign asset freezes and travel
bans if they tried to block the transition process, however the latest
statement did not mention them.
A spokesman for the CNRDRE body
that represents the soldiers behind the coup said on Monday the
occupation of the palace was a spontaneous show of anger at Traore and
his Ecowas-backed nomination by Malians who want to choose their own
The palace occupation happened during a street protest by
several thousand in Bamako that had been encouraged by local
politicians who back Sanogo.
Sanogo had agreed at the weekend to
allow Traore's mandate to be extended in return for securing the status
and privileges normally accorded former heads of state, including a
comfortable pension for life and other perks.
A Reuters reporter said the streets of the capital Bamako were calm early on Tuesday.
was not clear when Traore, a former parliament speaker who has held
various cabinet positions, would return to the palace, around which
security forces were posted. Civilian palace staff fled during Monday's