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Death of IBK: François Hollande salutes a “man of culture” and “an African proud of his continent”


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Often named by his initials IBK, former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, ousted in 2020 by the army after seven turbulent years in power, died Sunday at the age of 76. The former French president, François Hollande, paid tribute to him on the antenna of France 24.

A few hours after the announcement of the death of former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta on Sunday January 16, the former French President, François Hollande, hailed “an African proud of his continent, who worked in harmony with his colleagues from West Africa”.

Questioned by France 24, the former President of the French Republic also underlined the vigor of IBK in its fight against jihadism in Mali. “I had known Mr. Keïta for a long time, we worked together in the operations that we had launched,” he said.

“He was a lover of the French language. […] He was a man of culture, he had a very good knowledge of African and French authors, he was able to declaim poems/” François Hollande recalled IBK’s deep attachment to the language of Molière, he who lived a quarter century in France.

Earlier in the day, a member of his family announced his death without specifying the cause of his disappearance. “President IBK died this morning at 9 a.m. (GMT and local) at his home” in the capital, where he lived retired, away from public life.

Malian public television announced in a banner that a funeral program would be announced “later”.

“A cultured man, a great patriot and a Pan-Africanist”

The residence of the former president, located in the south-west of the capital, was the scene on Sunday afternoon of an intense ballet of cars of personalities who came to offer their condolences. Police officers guarded the entrances, AFP journalists noted.

The head of Malian diplomacy Abdoulaye Diop said he was “saddened to learn of the disappearance of former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta” and bowed in a message on Twitter “with great emotion in front of his memory”.

The ex-president of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou, comrade of the deceased within the Socialist International, hailed “a cultured man, a great patriot and a pan-Africanist”.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta had been ousted from power after months of mobilization within a population exasperated by violence of all kinds – jihadist, communal or villainous –, by the bankruptcy of state services and by a reputedly galloping corruption.

With Reuters and AFP

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