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April 13, 2021

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The Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, Hamed Bakayoko, on Wednesday, died from cancer at a hospital in Freiburg, south-west Germany, according to the government.

He was 56.

Mr Bakayoko, an ally of, and possible successor to, President Alassane Ouattara was appointed Ivorian prime minister only in July after the death of his predecessor, Amadou Gon Coulibaly.

“Our country is in mourning,” President Alassane Ouattara wrote in a post on Twitter.

“It is with great sorrow that I announce the death of Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, head of state, minister of defence…in Germany, as a result of cancer.” Mr Ouattara added.

Mr Bakayoko, a former media executive who doubled as the West African nation’s defence minister, was flown to France on February 18 for medical care.

But after a meeting between him and Mr Ouattara in France last week, the government said it was recommended that the hospitalization of the ailing minister should be extended.

Mr Bakayoko was later transferred to Germany due to his deteriorating health.

Mr Ouattara described Mr Bakayoko as a “great statesman, an example to young people and a man of exemplary loyalty.”

Meanwhile, the president, on Monday, named his close confidant and chief of staff, Patrick Achi, as interim prime minister to serve in Mr Bakayoko’s stead.

Tene Ouattara, a younger brother of the president, was also named interim defence minister.

Political career

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In the 1990s, at a time when he was in medical school, Mr Bakayoko launched Le Patriote newspaper, which helped him cultivate ties with stalwarts in the Ivorian political scene.

He became minister of telecommunications and new technologies in 2003 but bowed out in 2010 after a brief civil war broke out when former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept the election results.

After the war, in 2011, Mr Ouattara appointed him as interior minister, a position he held till 2017 after mutinies by some soldiers.

By 2018, he was elected mayor of the poor Abidjan district of Abobo.

Election results published on Sunday showed that he won 90 per cent votes in Saturday’s parliamentary election without campaigning in person to occupy the legislative seat of Seguela district.

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