Guinea-Bissau President Sanha Dies in Paris

Posted January 9th, 2012 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The president of Guinea-Bissau, Malam Bacai Sanha, has died in a Paris hospital.

A statement from the president's office said Mr. Sanha died Monday at the Val de Grace hospital, where he was undergoing treatment.

No cause of death was given, but the 64-year-old leader was known to have had diabetes and a blood ailment. He had been hospitalized repeatedly in France or Senegal since being elected in 2009.

His death adds to worries about stability in Guinea-Bissau, which has a history of unrest and has become a hub of international drug trafficking.

The head of the West African country's national assembly, Raimundo Pereira, is expected to take over the government until elections can be held. The constitution says those elections must be held within 90 days.

Mr. Sanha was elected to replace President Joao Bernardo Vieria, who was killed by mutinous soldiers in March 2009.

Late last month, dozens of military personnel were arrested for involvement in a suspected coup attempt. Those arrested include the country's navy chief, Bubo Na Tchuto, who was accused of masterminding the plot.