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Ousted Malian president Ibrahim Keita dies at 76

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Ousted Malian president Ibrahim Keita dies at 76

 

Former Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was ousted by the military in 2020 after a turbulent seven-year rule, has died, officials said on Sunday. He was 76.

Known by his initials IBK, Keita ran the West African country from September 2013 until August 2020, during which Islamist insurgents overran large areas and ethnic violence flared.

Disputed legislative elections, rumours of corruption and low economic growth also fuelled public anger and drew tens of thousands onto the streets of the capital Bamako in 2020 to demand his resignation.

He was eventually forced out by a military coup, whose leaders remain in charge despite strong international objections.

The interim government issued a statement on Sunday that read: “The government of Mali and the Malian people salute the memory of the illustrious deceased.”

READ: ECOWAS imposes sanctions on Mali over military coup

Leaders from the region including Senegalese President Macky Sall and Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Kabore, sent condolences.

The cause of death was not immediately clear. A former adviser said Keita, who frequently travelled abroad for medical attention, had died at home in Bamako.

He was detained and put under house arrest during the coup, but those restrictions were lifted amid pressure from the West African political bloc ECOWAS.

Known for his white flowing robes and a tendency to slur his words, Keita came to power in a resounding election victory in 2013. He vowed to take on the corruption that had eroded support for his predecessor Amadou Toumani Toure, also toppled in a coup.

– Reuters

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