Former Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita dies aged 76

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Keita, who was 76, led the country from 2013 until he was removed from office in a coup in 2020.

Mali’s former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has died at the age of 76, his family said.

“President IBK died this morning at 09:00 GMT in his home” in the capital, Bamako, a family member told the AFP news agency, using the former leader’s initials, with several other family members confirming his passing.

The cause of death has not been specified.

Keita led the West African country from 2013 until he was removed in a coup in 2020.

He had promised to restore Mali’s honour as a model for democracy in West Africa as he campaigned as a unifying figure in his fractured country, pledging “zero tolerance” for corruption.

He won the election in a landslide in 2013 and was re-elected five years later. But slow reforms, a crumbling economy and decrepit public services and schools, along with a widely shared perception of government corruption, fed anti-Keita sentiment, sparking large protests in Bamako.

Military officers who overthrew Keita have drawn international condemnation for backpedalling on a pledge to hold democratic elections in February and extending the transition period to civil rule by five years.

In response, West Africa’s main regional bloc, ECOWAS, said it will close borders with Mali and impose sweeping economic sanctions.

Mali has struggled to regain stability since 2012, when ethnic Tuareg rebels and loosely aligned armed groups seized the northern two-thirds of the country, leading former colonial power France to intervene to temporarily beat them back.

Ethnic killings and armed forces’ abuses had become a defining feature of Keita’s presidency, despite thousands of French and international troops deployed to contain the armed groups.

SOURCE: ALJAZEERA

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