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Funeral rites commence for late Ivorian PM Hamed Bakayoko in Abidjan

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Ivory Coast

A ceremony has been held in Abidjan as the body of prime minister Hamed Bakayoko arrives on a plane from Germany.

The Ivorian Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko died following cancer treatment in a German hospital.

Bakayoko was appointed prime minister in July last year after his predecessor, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, died of a heart attack.

Gon Coulibaly was slated to be the governing party’s candidate for the October 31, 2020, presidential election, but his sudden death led incumbent President Alassane Ouattara to run and win a controversial third term arguing a 2016 constitutional amendment reset the clock on the two-term limit.

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”.

An eight day period of national mourning for the late prime minister was announced by president Allasane Outtarra on Thursday.

Bakayoko's burial is scheduled for Friday 19 March.

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