Mali opposition chief Cissé dies after contracting COVID-19



Malian opposition chief Soumaila Cissé, who was held hostage for six months by jihadis earlier this yr and was thought-about a number one contender for the 2022 presidential election, has died in Paris

Cissé died after contracting COVID-19, his eldest son Bocar instructed The Related Press on Friday.

“The docs did every part to maintain him alive, however that’s the way in which of God’s will,” he stated.

He was taken hostage by al-Qaida-affiliated jihadis in March whereas campaigning for legislative elections in his hometown of Niafunke in northern Mali. Amid public stress, the Malian authorities obtained his liberation in October, together with that of French and Italian hostages, in alternate for the discharge of round 200 jihadis from Malian prisons.

It wasn’t recognized whether or not a ransom had been paid, although extremist teams have lengthy funded their operations with such funds from European governments.

In an interview after being launched from captivity, Cissé instructed France’s TV5 Monde that his captors moved the hostages by motorbike, boat and even camel. He stated he was held in additional than 20 completely different areas. Whereas he stated he wasn’t abused bodily or verbally, he described extraordinarily troublesome situations within the desert, and stated he lacked the remedy he wanted.

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Cisse stated he was in a position to hearken to the radio and was angered by information of the August navy coup that overthrew Mali’s democratically elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Mali’s interim chief, Sem Ba N’Daw, expressed his condolences to Cissé’s household and supporters on Friday, saying tens of millions of Malians “are in shock” on the information. Describing a gathering with Cissé after he was freed, he stated Cissé’s “optimism had remained intact,” and stated “the nation nonetheless wanted his expertise and knowledge to face as we speak’s challenges.”

In his final Fb put up, on Christmas Eve, Cissé wished “a wonderful vacation of pleasure and well being” to Christians in his nation and world wide, at a time when Mali is going through a number of crises — together with the coronavirus pandemic.

No fast funeral plans had been introduced.


Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.



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