Mali's interim president returns home after two months
7/27/2012 8:10:37 PM -
BAMAKO (AFP) - Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore returned to Bamako on Friday after two months in Paris recovering from a violent attack by opponents to his appointment, AFP witnessed.
Security was tight, with armed, masked men posted on roofs as Traore landed at 5:20 pm (1720 GMT). He was welcomed by Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra.
Ex-junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, who led a March 22 coup, was also present.
The 70-year-old interim president was inaugurated on April 12 after the putschists handed power over to civilians.
He was attacked in his office by a mob protesting his appointment on May 21, the eve of the official start of a 12-month transition period for a return to democratic rule.
Two days later he left for Paris to seek medical treatment, where he has been since as his country has plunged deeper into chaos.
Diarra is trying to cobble together a unity government by July 31 on orders from regional mediators to better deal with the occupation of the country's vast north by hardline Islamists.
Burkinabe Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole, who has been involved in mediation efforts, said Friday that if Traore needed more time to form the inclusive government "he can approach his fellow heads of state".