Former Congo President dies of coronavirus

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JACQUES Joaquim Yhombi-Opango, former president of the Republic of the Congo, has died after contracting coronavirus, his family said, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

Yhombi-Opango died in a Paris hospital on Monday. He was 81.

Yhombi-Opango was ill before he contracted the virus, his son told AFP news agency.

He led Congo-Brazzaville from 1977 until he was toppled in 1979, being ousted by the country’s current leader, Denis Sassou Nguesso.

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

The troubled oil-rich former French colony was aligned with the Soviet Union during Ngouabi’s 1968-1977 rule.

Yhombi-Opango led the oil-rich country from 1977 until he was toppled in 1979 [Reuters]

Accused of taking part in a coup plot against Sassou Nguesso, Yhombi-Opango 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.

He founded the Rally for Democracy and Development party but lost in a 1992 presidential election.

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

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

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

If you suspect COVID-19 infection or wish to obtain more information on this disease, please call the Ministry of Health and Child Care on toll free hotline number 2019 for assistance.

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