Keita, ousted Mali President is dead

Keita

The ousted President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, has died aged 76, family and former colleagues say.

Two years ago he 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 fuelled 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.

President Keïta went on to be elected in 2013 on a promise to “bring peace and security”, winning by a landslide. Yet 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.

Mali’s new military rulers staged a second coup in May of last year, announcing a further three-year delay to elections that were meant to happen this February.

This last action made them the target of sanctions this week by the EU as well as its neighbours in the West African regional bloc Ecowas. (BBC)