Former Guinea Bissau President Kumba Yala, who ruled from 2000 to 2003, has died at the age of 61, a statement from the country’s military hospital said on Friday.
A veteran of Bissau’s turbulent political scene, Yala came to power in 2000 after the country’s second multi-party election following a brief civil war in 1999.
He was ousted in a bloodless military coup in September 2003.
“President Kumba Yala is dead. He died around midnight during the night of April 3 of a sudden cardiopulmonary arrest,” the statement said.
Yala’s death comes 10 days before a legislative and presidential election intended to draw a line under a 2012 military coup. His tenure as the country’s head of state was characterized by sackings of ministers and other high officials, and poor financial management that led the World Bank and the IMF to suspend aid. Ialá’s relationship with General Mane, the leader of the rebellion that had toppled Vieira in the 1998–99 civil war, was difficult. Ialá attempted to promote a number of military officers in November 2000, but Mané said that Ialá’s list of promotions was not the one Ialá had previously agreed to with Mané. Mané announced that he was taking control of the armed forces, revoking Ialá’s promotions and replacing the chief of staff, Verisimo Seabra. An outbreak of fighting followed,and Mané was killed in a clash with government forces a week later, on 30 November