Cote D’Ivoire PM Hamed Bakayoko dies in Germany at 56

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ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST - DECEMBER 18: Ivory Coast Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko casts his vote during the parliamentary elections in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on December 16, 2016. (Photo by Cyrille Bah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST – DECEMBER 18: Cote D’Ivoire Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko casts his vote during the parliamentary elections in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on December 16, 2016.
(Photo by Cyrille Bah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Cote D’Ivoire Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, who was seen as a possible successor to President Alassane Ouattara, has died in Freiburg in southwestern Germany, two days after his 56th birthday, the government said on Wednesday.

A former media executive who turned to politics, Bakayoko acted as a negotiator and intermediary between warring factions during a prolonged civil conflict in Cote D’Ivoire from the early 2000s.

“He was a great statesman, a model for our youth, a personality of great generosity and exemplary loyalty,” Ouattara said on Twitter.

A close ally of Ouattara, he was appointed as prime minister in July 2020 following the sudden death of his predecessor Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who had been handpicked by Ouattara to succeed him.

He was flown to France on February 18 for medical checks and later to Freiburg in Germany. Ouattara said he died of cancer.

The government said in a statement on Friday that Ouattara had met Bakayoko during a visit to France the previous week, and given the state of the minister’s health, it was recommended that his hospitalization should be extended.

“He was a key player in the political game and a major player in reconciliation. It’s a true shame,” said Issiaka Sangare, spokesman for the opposition Ivorian Popular Front.

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