Mali holds state ceremony for former President Ibrahim Bubakar Keita News

Kate died at the age of 76 and was to be buried at her residence in the capital, Bamako.

Mali held a state ceremony for former President Ibrahim Bubakar Keita, who was ousted in a 2020 coup and died last week.

Interim Prime Minister Chogel Kokala Maiga attended the ceremony Friday at a military camp in the Sahel state capital, Bamako, where the former leader’s coffin was wrapped in the Malian flag.

Kate’s relatives also attended the ceremony. Former Prime Minister of Mali Musa Mara, Guinean Foreign Minister and foreign diplomats in Bamako were also present.

Thousands gathered at the former president’s residence in Bamako to pay their respects.

Kate, who was impeccably elected in 2013 and won re-election five years later, died at the age of 76 on Sunday. He was to be buried at his residence in Bamako later Friday.

Malian military guard moves in coffin of late ousted Mali president Ibrahim Bubakar KeitaThe military government has announced a three-day national holiday in honor of Keita, starting on Friday [Florent Vergnes/AFP]

The brutal conflict in Mali overshadowed Keita’s presidency, which, together with the weakening economy and perceived corruption in the government, contributed to the mass protests against him in 2020.

Young army officers, led by Colonel Asimi Goita, forced him to leave the post on August 18, 2020, detaining Kate and other leaders.

Under pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the military group that emerged from the uprising released Kate on August 27 of that year and sent her to his Bamako residence under surveillance.

The following month, he suffered a mini-stroke and was sent to the United Arab Emirates for treatment.

The military staged a new coup in May 2021.

ECOWAS agreed in December to sanction Mali after military officials offered to stay in power for up to five years before the election – despite international demands to keep a promise to hold a vote in February.

Goita, the head of the military government, announced a three-day national holiday in honor of Keita, starting on Friday.

Al Jazeera’s Nicholas Hake, in a Dakar report, said Keita was a divisive figure.

“Before his removal, there were tens of thousands of people on the streets demanding his resignation, he was accused of corruption and his legacy will be called into question, given the current situation in Mali,” Hake said.

Mali has been struggling to regain stability since 2012, when ethnic Tuareg rebels and weakly united armed groups seized the northern two-thirds of the country, prompting the former French colonial power to intervene to repel them temporarily.

Ethnic killings and abuses by the armed forces have become a defining feature of Keita’s presidency, despite thousands of French and international troops deployed to control the armed groups.

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