September 30, 2023


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Mali’s opposition chief and ex-hostage dies with COVID-19

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali’s opposition chief Soumaila Cisse, who was held hostage for 6 months before this yr by jihadists and was regarded as a foremost contender in 2022 elections, has died in Paris, his loved ones claimed Friday.

Cissé, 71, died immediately after contracting COVID-19, his eldest son Bocar advised The Associated Press.

“The doctors did anything to retain him alive, but that is the way of God’s will,” he stated.

The news throws Malian politics into new uncertainty. Cissé was the runner-up in the previous a few presidential elections and several assumed he experienced the very best chances of last but not least winning in 2022.

He was taken hostage by jihadists in March whilst campaigning for legislative elections in his hometown of Niafunke in northern Mali. He was kidnapped by a group affiliated with al-Qaida. Amid public force, the Malian government received his liberation in Oct, along with that of French and Italian hostages in trade for the launch of some 200 jihadists from Malian prisons.

Mali’s interim chief Sem Ba N’Daw expressed his condolences to Cisse’s household and supporters on Friday, expressing thousands and thousands of Malians “are in shock” at the news. Describing a conference with Cisse soon after he was freed, he reported Cisse’s “optimism had remained intact,” and claimed “the region however desired his practical experience and wisdom to face today’s troubles.”

No quick funeral strategies ended up introduced.