The attack took place on the two-time coup leader in Bamako during prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid al Adha.

In this file photograph taken on August 19, 2020, Colonel Assimi Goita speaks to the press at the Malian Ministry of Defence in Bamako.
In this file photograph taken on August 19, 2020, Colonel Assimi Goita speaks to the press at the Malian Ministry of Defence in Bamako. (AFP)

Two armed men, including one who wielded a knife, attacked Mali's interim president Assimi Goita in the Great Mosque in the capital Bamako.

The attack, witnessed by an AFP journalist, took place on Tuesday during prayers for the Islamic festival of Eid al Adha.

Goita has since been taken from the scene, according to the journalist.

Later, the country's presidency issued a statement that Goita was "safe and sound."

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Religious Affairs Minister Mamadou Kone said a man had "tried to kill the president with a knife" but was apprehended.

Latus Toure, the director of the Great Mosque, said an attacker had lunged for the president but wounded someone else.

AFP was not immediately able to confirm the accounts.

Mali has been struggling to contain an insurgency that first emerged in the north of the country in 2012, and has since spread to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

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The conflict has also been mirrored by political instability in the capital.

Colonel Goita led a coup last August, ousting elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita after weeks of mass protests over corruption and the long-running conflict.

In May, he ousted a transitional government that had been entrusted with the task of leading the country back to civilian rule in February 2022.

He was then named transitional president but has pledged to keep to the goal for returning to civilian government.

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Source: AFP