BAMAKO, 4 January 2021 – Former Malian Prime Minister Modibo Keita died Saturday at the age of 78, according to a statement issued Sunday by incumbent Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.

The cause of death is unknown and was not discussed in the statement by Moctar Ouane.

On social media, Moctar Ouane lauded Modibo Keita as a man “who enshrined our ancestral values of probity, honor and dignity” in public life.

Modibo Keita was prime minister from 2015 to 2017.

Mali: Ex-Malian PM Keita Dies at 78

Modibo Keita on Facebook

He previously served as Transitional Prime Minister from March to June 2002 under the presidency of Alpha Oumar Konare who died in early November 2020.

He was the third prime minister under Presient Ibrahim Keita, who was re-elected in 2018 before being ousted in a military coup in August 2019.

Prior to becoming prime minister, Modibo Keita served as the High Representative of the Malian President for peace talks in Algiers between the government and the Tuareg-led rebel groups which declared an independent breakaway republic in northen Mali in 2012.

Thousands of civilians were killed in the rebellion and millions were internally displaced.

A peace deal was finally sealed with the rebels in 2015 but jihadist activity has not stopped in the northern region.

In fact, it has spread beyond Mali, heavily affecting neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

A teacher by training, Modibo Keita also held position in the administration, served as a minister, as an Ambassador and as Secretary-General at the presidency.

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