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Congo’s ex-president dies of COVID-19

The family of a former President of the Republic of Congo, Jacques Yhombi-Opango, has confirmed his death from the Coronavirus disease on Monday, in a Paris hospital. He was 81.

The family said he had underlying health conditions prior to contracting the coronavirus, AFP reports.

Born in 1939 in the country’s northern Cuvette region, Mr Yhombi-Opango was an army officer who rose to power after the assassination of President Marien Ngouabi.

He served as president and Prime Minister in the Central African country.

Mr Yhombi-Opango was president of Congo-Brazzaville from April 1977 until he was ousted in February 1979 by the country’s president Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Mr Yhombi-Opango allegedly took part in a coup plot against Sassou Nguesso. He was jailed from 1987 to 1990.

He was released a few months before a 1991 national conference that introduced multi-party politics in the central African country.

Mr Yhombi-Opango founded the Rally for Democracy and Development party but lost in the 1992 presidential election.

He later allied with elected president Pascal Lissouba, becoming his prime minister between 1994 and 1996.

When civil war broke out in Congo in 1997, Mr Yhombi-Opango fled into exile in France.

He was finally able to return home in 2007, 10 years later, and then divided his time between France and Congo because of his health problems.

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