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Former Mali President dies at 76

Former Mali President IBK  (Ibrahim Boubacar Keita) has died, Malian state media channel ORTM reported on Sunday the 16th of January, he died at his home in Bamako, at the age of 76.

Keita was in office for seven years, from September 2013 to August 2020, before being ousted in a military coup.

Late President IBK
Late President IBK

Special forces commander Assimi Goita was one of several colonels who overthrew Keita in August 2020, after which the interim authorities promised an 18-month transition to civilian rule.

Goita staged a second coup in May 2021 when he pushed aside the interim president and took the job himself.

Two years ago, the ousted president suffered a minor stroke but the cause of his death on Sunday was not immediately clear.

He died at 09:00 GMT at his home in the capital Bamako, a member of his family told AFP news agency.

Mr Keïta led Mali for seven years until 2020, when he was ousted in a coup after huge anti-government protests over his handling of jihadist unrest.

An economic crisis and disputed elections also fueled the demonstrations against his rule.

Mr. Keïta was involved in politics for more than three decades, serving as a socialist prime minister from 1994 to 2000.

‘Generous, irascible, divisive’

Born to a civil servant father in the southern city of Koutiala, he went on to study literature, history and international relations in Paris. He lived and worked in France for decades, including teaching at the University of Paris, before returning to Mali in 1980, at first working as an adviser to the European Development Fund.

He is remembered variously as a generous, irascible and divisive figure by his entourage, AFP says.

Mali has been in the grip of a security and political crisis since the outbreak of independence and jihadist insurgencies in 2012, the BBC’s Lalla Sy says.

Mr Keita, who claimed to be a leftist, had a meteoric rise under Alpha Oumar Konare, the first president (1992-2002) of the democratic era of Mali. He was Prime Minister from 1994 to 2000.

President Keïta went on to be elected in 2013 on a promise to “bring peace and security”, winning by a landslide. Even though his government failed to put an end to Mali’s grave security challenges, and he was ousted by the military in August 2020.

Weeks later, he suffered a minor stroke and was flown to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment.

According to Francophone African news site Jeune Afrique Mr Keïta kept a low profile thereafter, living in Bamako with his wife Aminata who made frequent trips to Ivory Coast to visit their sons living there.

 

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