President Hage Geingob has mourned Mali’s former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who passed away at the age of 76 in that country’s capital Bamako on Sunday.
Well known as President IBK, Keita led the West African country from 2013 until he was ousted in a coup in 2020. The cause of Keita’s death was not revealed.
“I am saddened by the news of the passing of my dear brother, former President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. IBK was a personal friend of many decades”.
“During this difficult period for his wife, the children and the family, my wife and I extend our deepest condolences. RIP IBK,” Geingob said on social media on Sunday.
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 a jihadist insurgency and failure to turn around Mali’s floundering economy.
Keita was forced out of office on 18 August 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 27 August 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 staged another coup in May 2021.
Ecowas this month agreed to sanction Mali after the junta proposed it would stay in power for up to five years before staging elections – despite international demands that it respects a promise to hold the vote in February.
- Additional reporting AFP