Acting president beaten


The acting president of Mali, Dioncounda Traore, was badly beaten and hospitalised after protesters broke into the presidential palace yesterday. Three protesters were shot dead.

The protesters were demanding that the acting president, the former speaker of parliament should leave his post immediately. Last week the rebel soldiers who had staged a coup in March had agreed that he could stay on for a year to stabilise the country. Protesters disagreed and were also against the interference of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) who had imposed the deal on the original coup leaders.

Around two thirds of the country is in the hands of Touareg rebels who are being supported by Al Qaeda. ECOWAS has promised around 3,000 troops to help regain the territory and drive the rebels back in return for political stability in the country.

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