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Kumba Yala: Guinea-Bissau former president nicknamed “Red Cap” was dead.

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He was Guinea-Bissau president from 2000 to 2003: Kumba Yala died from a cardiac arrest at the age of 61 years. He was nicknamed “Red Cap” because of the color of the cap he often puts in public.

Government announced that “the former president Kumba Yala died from a cardiac arrest”.

Kumba Yala felt faint Thursday evening and died early on Friday.

The remains of the former president were transported to the military hospital of Bra, in the suburbs of Bissau.

AFP reported that “an important safety system was set in front of this institution.

Hundreds of close relations of Kumba Yala or members of his political party, Social Renovation Party (SRP), converged towards his residence.

Government decreed three days national mourning from Saturday.

Official funeral will also be organized but the date was not yet communicated.

Kumba Yala was born on 15th March 1953 in Pkon, a locality near Bula in the northwest in farmers’ family of Balante ethnic group. He studied in his country and in Portugal, the former colonial power.

He was a philosophy teacher, certified law studies and polyglot (Portuguese, Spanish, French, English).

He was reputed to appear in public with a cap of red wool, distinction sign of initiated Balante, which was worth to him his nickname of “Red Cap”.

Elected in 2000, Mr. Yala was overthrown, without bloodshed by army on 14th September 2003.

Since then, he had competed for presidency twice but unsuccessfully.

He converted himself into Islam in 2008 and changed his name in Mohamed Ialá Embaló.

 

Original text by: Nicolas Coutain

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