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Mali's interim leader Traore beaten by protesters: sources

By AFP

BAMAKO (AFP) - Mali's transition president Diancounda Traore was hospitalised on Monday after protesters angry at his appointment burst into his office and beat him, his entourage and medical sources reported.

Traore was "beaten and injured" by the protesters and taken to hospital, local journalist Baye Coulibaly told AFP.

He was on the scene at Traore's office, the headquarters of the general secretariat next to the presidential palace, which has lain looted and empty since the coup.

A source in the presidency confirmed the information.

"The protesters, who were many, evaded security forces ... they found him in his office. He was beaten but his life is not in danger. He was driven to hospital," said the source.

A source at the hospital confirmed his admission, without giving further deyails.

The journalist Coulibaly said that all official locations in Koulouba, from the headquarters of the general secretariat and foreign ministry had been "besieged by protesters".

An AFP photographer on the scene said hundreds had managed to approach Traore's offices despite the presence of the national guard, managing to enter the building and presidential palace.

The presidential source said: "The protesters overran security forces who were protecting the front and sides of the buildings, but the protesters came from behind."

The incident comes a day after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) brokered a deal with the junta in which Traore would lead a 12-month transition back to democratic rule after a March 22 coup.

As part of the agreement coup leader Amadou Sanogo was given the status of a former head of state and all the benefits that usually brings, such as housing, transport, security and an allowance.

Thousands of pro-junta supporters took to the street on Monday to protest the deal, denouncing ECOWAS involvement and accusing Sanogo of "treason" for accepting the arrangement.

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