Mali’s veteran opposition leader Soumaila Cisse, has died aged 71, from reported coronavirus infection.
Cisse, who was released from seven months detention by Islamist insurgents ran against now deposed President Ibrahim Keita in the 2013 and 2018 elections and had been considered among the favourites in a vote expected in early 2022 under the transition government following Keita’s overthrow in the last August military coup.
Cisse reportedly died on Friday in Paris.
Two Malian former leaders Moussa Traore and Amadou Tounani Toure have died in the past four months as the country continues to endure perennial insecurity, political leadership crisis, terrorism, insurgency and separatist upheavals with 75 % of the country’s territory (north and part of central regions) outside the control of the government in Bamako, the nation’s capital.
This is in spite of the presence of a 15,000-strong UN Mission and French Barkhane 5,000 forces.
The military group that toppled Keita are in effective in control of the 25-member Transition government and parliament, with the opposition June 5 Movement, which led the street protests that toppled Keita, and other civilian groups virtually sidelined.
Source: Paul Ejime, Media Expert