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Mali’s ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita dies at 76

Mali’s former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who led the West African country from 2013 until he was ousted in a coup in 2020, has died at the age of 76 in the capital Bamako.

His death early on Sunday — announced in an alert by the state broadcaster ORTM — comes as the sprawling African nation faces a deepening political crisis.

“President IBK died this morning at 0900 GMT in his home” in Bamako, a family member told AFP news agency using the ex-leader’s initials, with several other family members confirming his passing.

Additionally, his former justice minister and an ex-advisor confirmed the news to Reuters news agency while the cause of Keita’s death was not given.

“Very saddened to learn of the death of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita,” tweeted Mali’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdoulaye Diop.

“It is with great emotion that I bow before his memory.”

Keita had been in declining health since his forced resignation, and had sought medical treatment in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, shortly after his release from junta custody.

Forced to leave office

Keita was two years into his second five-year term when he was toppled by the military in 2020.

In the weeks before the coup, he had been struggling with protests fuelled by his handling of an insurgency and failure to turn around Mali’s floundering economy.

Keita was forced out of office on August 18, 2020 by young military officers who staged an uprising at a base near Bamako before heading into the city, where they seized Keita and other leaders.

Under pressure from the West African bloc ECOWAS, the junta that emerged from the rebellion released Keita on August 27 and returned him to his residence in Bamako, under surveillance.

He suffered a mini-stroke the following month, and was sent to United Arab Emirates for treatment.

The ruling junta would stage another coup in May 2021.

ECOWAS this month agreed to sanction Mali after the junta proposed it would to stay in power for up to five years before staging elections — despite international demands that it respect a promise to hold the vote in February.

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