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Corpse of Ivorian Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko arrives Abidjan

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Ivory Coast

The body of the Ivory Coast's late prime minister Hamed Bakayoko arrived Abidjan on Saturday from Germany. 

Hamed Bakayoko, popularly known as "Hambak", died in Germany from cancer aged 56, four days after legislative elections that went ahead peacefully and handed victory to the ruling RHDP party.

On Thursday, the government declared an eight-day national mourning period from 12 to 19 March.

The official programme includes tributes from the nation on Wednesday, followed by the transfer of the body the next day to Seguela (North) where he will be buried on Friday "in strict privacy of the family".

Bakayoko, who was also defence minister, was evacuated to France on 18 February by special plane for "health reasons", before being transferred to a hospital in Germany last weekend, at the  time legislative elections in Ivory Coast were being held.

Despite his absence, he was overwhelmingly re-elected deputy in his stronghold of Séguéla (north).

Hamed Bakayoko succeeded Amadou Gon Coulibaly as Prime Minister in July 2020, who died a few days after returning from hospital and a two-month convalescence in France for heart problems.

Appreciated on all sides of a country marked by high political tensions, opponents were keen to pay tributes.

Meanwhile, former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, on parole in Brussels after his acquittal by the International Criminal Court (ICC), has "postponed" his return to Ivory Coast,initially scheduled for mid-March.

In a statement , Gbagbo said he was doing this to "fully associate, in the pure African tradition, the mourning that hits Côte d'Ivoire" this period..

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