Dioncounda Traore, the interim president of Mali, is returning to the capital city of Bamako to resume his post after two months of medical treatment in Paris. He left Mali after suffering a severe beating at the hands of demonstrators.
Traore was in his own office on May 21 when protesters stormed the presidential palace and attacked him. They were acting in support of the military junta that had seized power in March.
Meanwhile, northern Mali remains under the control of Ansar Dine. The Islamist group, linked to al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb, was the second outside force to invade northern Mali this year. It swept in to seize control of an area that was first taken from the government by the Tuaregs, a historically nomadic group from the Sahel region of North Africa.
It was the Tuareg incursion that sparked Mali's current crisis. The country had been politically stable for decades until the Tuareg offensive. Then, on March 22, a group of Malian military officers unexpectedly seized power from the central government. They voiced disappointment over the Bamako's apparent weakness in the face of the Tuareg rebellion.
But the ensuing power struggle allowed the Tuaregs to advance even farther into northern Mali. Now that Ansar Dine has taken over, humanitarian crises plague the region and the central government remains weak.
Having returned to office, Traore will once again attempt to establish order and stability in Bamako.
"I think Dioncounda Traore is brave to make the decision to come back," Malian university student Binta Sangare told the Associated Press. "In reality, though, I don't like him as a transitional president, but if he is the way out of this crisis, we don't really have a choice."