Niger’s minister of employment and labour, Mohamed Ben Omar, died on Sunday, his party said, without stating the cause of death.
He died Sunday afternoon at the main hospital of the capital Niamey, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) said on Whatsapp. President Mahamadou Issoufou said he learned the news with a “heavy heart.”
Ben Omar, born January 1, 1965, in the south-central town of Tesker, had led the PSD, which is allied with Issoufou’s Party for Democracy and Socialism.
Issoufou’s labour minister since 2017, Ben Omar began his political life in 1999 under president Mamadou Tandja, serving in parliament or in various ministerial roles in the poor Sahel nation.
Ben Omar strongly supported a constitutional amendment that allowed Tandja to prolong his second term by three years in 2009, but a military junta overthrew Tandja the following February.
Before he created the PSD, Ben Omar was part of the Rally for Democracy and Progress, the party of Tandja’s predecessor Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, who was assassinated in 1999 by members of his own bodyguard.