Guinea-Bissau’s leader Malam Bacai Sanha has died at 64 in hospital in Paris, national radio reports.
President Malam Bacai Sanha had travelled to France for medical treatment in late November after being taken seriously ill.
He was the president of Guinea-Bissau since 8 September 2009. A member of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Malam Bacai Sanhá was President of the National People’s Assembly from 1994 to 1999 and then served as acting President of Guinea-Bissau from 14 May 1999 to 17 February 2000, following the ouster of President João Bernardo Vieira. Standing as the PAIGC candidate, he placed second in the 1999–2000 presidential election as well as the 2005 presidential election before winning the June–July 2009 presidential election.
The nature of Malam Bacai Sanha illness has not been made public but he was known to suffer from diabetes.
In early December 2009, he was due to visit Portugal but delayed the visit due to health problems. After fainting, he was taken to Dakar and then Paris for medical treatment. While in Paris, he said that he had suffered a drop in hemoglobin; although he insisted that his diabetes was “not as serious as people want to make out”, he also said that he intended to be more attentive about his health. Malam Bacai Sanhá spent ten days in Paris and subsequently stayed in the Canary Islands for a time before returning to Bissau on 30 December 2009. His chief of protocol stated that he had recovered and was in good condition
This time, before being hospitalized in Paris, Malam Bacai Sanha had been treated in intensive care in a h.ospital in neighbouring Senegal.