Malian opposition leader Cisse dies of COVID-19

Malian opposition leader, Soumaila Cisse has died from coronavirus complications after being held hostage for six months by jihadists earlier this year.

He died on Friday at the age of 71, his family and party said.

Cisse “died in France, where he had been taken for Covid-19 care,” a member of his family told AFP.

“I can confirm this terrible news. He’s dead,” a leader of Cisse’s URD party told AFP, saying the politician’s wife had let him know.

Cisse was snatched by jihadists on March 25 while campaigning in the northeastern Timbuktu region ahead of legislative elections.

He was freed six months later in October alongside Frenchwoman Sophie Petronin and two Italians.

The hostages were exchanged for some 200 prisoners whose release was demanded by jihadist groups.

“I was not subjected to any violence, either physical or verbal,” Cisse said following his release.

 

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