A state funeral has been held for former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who died a year and a half after he was ousted by the military.
Thousands of Malians mostly his former allies were present to bid him goodbye and pay tribute but the ruling junta leader, Colonel Assimi Goïta was absent and the funeral was also not telecast live on national television.
Friday’s funeral ceremony was also attended by former interim president Dioncounda Traoré, former ministers, religious dignitaries, diplomats and one of Keita’s sons.
The late Keïta’s coffin was covered with the national flag in the parade ground of the 34th Military Engineering Battalion.
Former President Keita was overthrown on August 18, 2020 by the military amid protests from citizens about the security situation in the country.
There were months of mobilization among a population worsened by violence sparked by jihadist and communal clashes.
“Dad, chief, my president, my friend, my safe guy,” said his son Boubacar.
He added that his father “you instilled in me the love of this country Mali, which you cherished so much and for which you were ready to give everything and forgive everything. The big Malinke (his ethnic origin) that you were could have a volcano heart but you never held a grudge and you did not know how to hate. You had a kindness of heart that we sometimes found hard to understand.
The junta declared a three-day national mourning period starting Friday.
The military after the 2020 coup carried out a second coup in May 2021 and is now stalling on returning power to civilians.
His presidency began in 2013 largely coincided with the turmoil Mali started in 2012 and the outbreak of independence and jihadist insurgencies in the north.