Mali’s former president Amadou Toumani Toure, who led the Sahel nation for a decade before being ousted in a coup, has died in Turkey aged 72, a family member and a doctor said on Tuesday.
“Amadou Toumani Toure died during the night of Monday to Tuesday in Turkey,” where he had been taken for health reasons, his nephew Oumar Toure told AFP.
A hospital doctor in Bamako said the former leader had recently undergone heart surgery.
Although “everything seemed to be going well”, the doctor said he was later transferred to Turkey for medical reasons.
Toure, a former soldier, first took charge of the country for a year in 1991, helping to overthrow the previous regime and install democracy.
He won presidential elections in 2002 and 2007 but was overthrown in 2012 by mutinous soldiers who accused him of failing to support their battle against both Tuareg rebels and jihadist insurgents.
Mali has suffered from chronic instability and repeated coups, the latest coming earlier this year.
By BABA AHMED and CARLEY PETESCH, Associated Press
Mali’s transitional president and vice president were sworn into office Friday, more than a month after a coup in the West African nation.
The induction ceremony in the capital, Bamako, took place as Mali remains under sanctions by the 15-nation West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, and amid uncertainty about details of the transition period.
Former Defense Minister and retired Col. Maj. Bah N’Daw is the new transitional president while Col. Assimi Goita, head of the junta that staged the Aug. 18 coup, is Mali’s new vice president. The two, along with a prime minister who will be chosen in the coming days, are to lead the transitional government to elections in 18 months.
“I am ready to make the ultimate sacrifice so that Mali becomes the country of our dreams, and to return the country to a properly elected president,” N’Daw said in his first speech to the nation. He promised to abide by the agreed conditions and timeframe for the transition.
He also said that the transition government will uphold its international commitments.
Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan attended the ceremony as representative of ECOWAS, which had pressed for a quick return to a civilian government. The regional group held days of talks with the junta and other political and civil groups in Mali to encourage a return to democacy. ECOWAS has closed borders to Mali and stopped financial flows and has said it will only lift those sanctions once it approves of the transitional plan.
Jonathan has been positive about the junta’s proposals.
On Friday, he congratulated the junta “and the way they interacted with ECOWAS.”
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently participating in a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Economic Community of West Africa States’ (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government on the socio-political situation in Mali.
The session, which is being held through video conference, was convened following the military coup d’etat that was executed in the Republic of Mali on Tuesday.
Also attending the meeting with President Buhari from Abuja are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd); National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd); the Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i; and the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, among others.