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death in detention of Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, former Prime Minister

Former Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, in Mopti, in October 2018.

The former Prime Minister of Mali, Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, died on Monday March 21 at the age of 67 in Bamako, where he was in detention in a case of alleged fraud, we learned from his family. Mr. Maïga died in the morning in a clinic in Bamako, surrounded by guards, a member of his family told AFP, without further details.

A heavyweight in Malian politics, Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga was between 2017 and 2019 the prime minister of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, who came to power in 2013, was overthrown in August 2020 by a military coup, then died in January. Mr. Maïga was previously minister of foreign affairs, defense and head of the intelligence services.

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The former prime minister had been detained in the Bamako central detention center since August 2021. He had been transferred in December to the Bamako clinic where he died on Monday. He had been imprisoned after being charged with, among other things, “forgery, use of forgery and favoritism” as part of an investigation into the purchase of military equipment and the acquisition of a presidential plane in 2014, when he was defense minister.

The purchase of this plane had been singled out by the Auditor General’s Office (BVG), an independent Malian authority, which had denounced practices of overcharging, embezzlement of public funds, fraud, influence peddling and favouritism.

“Need for his evacuation abroad”

Appointed Prime Minister in 2017, Mr. Maïga had been forced to resign after the massacre of some 160 Fulani civilians in April 2019 in Ogossagou (center) by alleged Dogon hunters and after a series of demonstrations denouncing the mismanagement of the country.

After his health deteriorated, doctors had asked for his evacuation outside for treatment. His wife had seized the head of the Malian junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta, on March 2 in an open letter.

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Doctors have “acknowledged the seriousness of his condition and concluded that it was urgently necessary to evacuate him abroad”, his family said in a statement in December. The former prime minister was leader of a party, the ASMA-CFP (Alliance for Solidarity in Mali-Convergence of Patriotic Forces).

Colonel Assimi Goïta has pledged to give way to civilians after elections whose date has not been set. The return of civilians to power in Mali is a source of dispute with West African states, which sanctioned the junta in January for having revoked its initial commitment to organize an election in February.

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The World with AFP

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