Bamako: Mali`s interim President, who was beaten by a mob of demonstrators who broke into his office this week, has left the country to seek medical treatment in France, an adviser and two French government officials said on Wednesday.
The unexpected, and unpublicised, departure of the 70-year-old Dioncounda Traore leaves a dangerous power vacuum in the West African nation, which was thrown off course following a March coup.
Contacted by telephone, an adviser to Traore said the interim President had left Mali for France to do medical tests on his heart because he has had a previous heart attack. Two government officials in France confirmed that Traore was coming to Paris for treatment. All three requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter.
Mediators have been working around-the-clock to get the military junta to accept a transition to civilian rule, and the coup leader finally agreed to step aside this weekend and allow Traore, the former head of the national assembly, to lead a one-year transition before new elections are held.
Now, Mali`s military leaders are facing sanctions because of the brutal attack Monday on Traore.