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Malian Junta Supporters Back Coup Leader as Interim President

A group that backs Mali’s military junta said it wants coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo to head a transitional government after the country’s interim president was injured by protesters demanding his resignation.

“He will be informed of his appointment as president by the national convention and he will be invested on Friday,” Mohamed Taboure, spokesman for the National Convention for the Coordination of Malian Patriotic Organizations, known by its French acronym Copam, told reporters yesterday in Bamako, the capital.

Interim President Dioncounda Traore was flown out of the country yesterday to receive treatment in France for injuries he sustained when protesters stormed his office on May 21 to demand he step down. The demonstration came a day after a deal was reached between Sanogo and the Economic Community of West African States under which the army captain would step down, while Traore’s position as head of the transitional government was extended from 40 days to one year.

Mali, which ranks alongside Tanzania as Africa’s third-biggest gold producer, has been in political crisis since March 22, when soldiers ousted President Amadou Toure amid discontent about the resources the government was dedicating to fight Touareg rebels in the nation’s northern region. The insurgents took advantage of the political instability to declare independence in the north on April 6.

“A new government will be established with a mission to recover the integrity of the territory and organize free and transparent elections,” Taboure said.

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