Sunday, March 14, 2021

I.Coast PM's body flown home after death in Germany

 The body of Ivory Coast Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko was flown home on Saturday, two days after he died in Germany.


Bakayoko, who turned 56 last Monday and died following cancer treatment in Germany, was popular for reaching across the political spectrum in the bitterly divided West African country.

His death came just days after a rare trouble-free election in which all sides took part.

President Alassane Ouattara, dressed in a dark suit and wearing a black hat, welcomed the coffin at Abidjan's international airport.

Hundreds of supporters of Bakayoko -- known as "Hambak" -- looked on from the sidelines as the coffin was taken to a funeral home, many of them wearing white T-shirts emblazoned with slogans including "Farewell HamBak, our inspiration!" or "HamBak forever in our hearts".

At ease in all walks of life, Bakayoko met regularly with religious leaders of all communities and ethnicities, political leaders and young people to urge them to listen to each other and not to resort to violence.

Earlier in the week, Ouattara called Bakayoko "my son and close collaborator, torn from us too soon".

Bakayoko took over as prime minister in July last year after his predecessor Amadou Gon Coulibaly died following treatment in France for heart problems.

Coulibaly had been chosen to run in last year's presidential election but his death prompted Ouattara to stand for a third term, a move that triggered a crisis with the opposition.

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