Malian opposition leader, Soumaïla Cissé, died of coronavirus on Friday in Paris, France, his family and his Union for Republic and Democracy (URD) party have confirmed.
Cissé was transferred from Niamey, Niger, for specialised treatment in France.
A former member of Mali’s National Assembly, Cisse was abducted on 25 March while campaigning for legislative elections in the northwest Timbuktu region.
After six months in the hands of jihadists, he was released in October, along with French humanist, Sophie Pétronin, and two Italians, in exchange for 200 detainees released at the request of jihadist groups.
Leader of the Malian opposition before the fall of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s regime on 18 August, Cissé served as president of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Commission from 2002 to 2012.
He was regarded by many of his compatriots as the main favourite for the next presidential election in Mali, scheduled for 2022.