Mali Buries Ex-Dictator Moussa Traore Who Ruled for 22 Years

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A Mali military officer (R) carries a portrait of former Mali President Moussa Traore while Military pallbearers carry his coffin draped with the Mali national flag during his funeral in Bamako on September 18, 2020. – Mali held a state funeral for former Mali president Moussa Traore on September 18, 2020, attended by the head of the ruling military junta and other former leaders of the Sahel state, according to AFP journalists.
Traore, who ruled Mali for 22 years before being deposed in a 1991 coup, died at age 83 in the capital Bamako on September 15, 2020. (Photo by MICHELE CATTANI / AFP)
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A former dictator, Moussa Traore, who ruled Mali for 22 years and deposed in a 1991 coup, has been laid to rest during a state funeral held in his honour on Friday.

The former autocratic leader died at age 83 in Bamako, the Malian capital on September 15.

According to AFP journalists, Traore was buried at a Bamako military camp, where a funeral band played at the arrival of his coffin, which was draped in the Malian flag.

Soldiers dressed in full regalia stood at attention, while two planes performed a flypast overhead.

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Traore’s funeral ceremony on Friday was attended by the head of the ruling military junta, Colonel Assimi Goita, part of a group of young officers who launched a coup ousting president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18.

Former President Amadou Toumani Toure, the man who deposed Traore in the 1991 coup, was also in attendance alongside and other former leaders of the Sahel state.

While Russian diplomats attended the ceremony, no French or European Union representatives were present, AFP journalists reported.

Traore, a young lieutenant in 1968, was the main instigator of a coup that ousted Modibo Keita, the country’s first president after independence from France in 1960.

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The then young officer became president a year after the coup and ruled with an iron fist, before he was eventually overthrown in a military coup in 1991.

In recent years, the ex-dictator was increasingly seen as an elder statesman in the notoriously unstable country, with politicians soliciting his advice.