Former Malian Prime Minister Modibo Keïta died on Saturday at 78, incumbent Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane announced. Keïta’s death comes a day after funeral of Soumaïla Cissé, an eminent opposition figure in the country.
The cause of Modibo Keïta's death is unknown, as the Prime Minister did not give cause for his death. Ouane took to social media to hail the memory of a man ‘’who enshrined our ancestral values of probity, honour and dignity’’.
Modibo Keïta was head of government between 2015 to 2017. He was the third Prime Minister under President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, who was re-elected in 2018.
Modibo Keïta took office against a backdrop of deteriorating security following the 2012 independence and jihadist upsurge in northern Mali. From April 2014 until his appointment, he had been the President's High Representative for peace talks in Algiers between the government and the Tuareg-led rebel groups in the north.
The rebels signed a peace agreement in mid-2015, but jihadist activity continued under the government of Modibo Keïta and beyond, spreading to the center of the country and into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. The crisis resulted in thousands of civilian and military deaths since 2012.
Modibo Keïta had previously served as Transitional Prime Minister from March to June 2002 under Alpha Oumar Konare. Initially a school teacher, he held multiple positions in the administration and government of Mali, as Minister, Ambassador and Secretary General at the presidency.