Mali’s former prime minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, who was being held on suspicion of corruption, has died, his family said this on Monday.
He died in the early hours at a Bamako clinic surrounded by guards, a family member told AFP without giving further details.
Maiga was a close ally of former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was overthrown by strongman Colonel Assimi Goita in August 2020.
He was questioned in connection with the allegedly fraudulent purchase of a presidential plane in 2014, when Maiga was serving as defence minister.
Mali’s government auditor investigated the purchase and found that officials had embezzled public money by overbilling for the plane.
Maiga had been in custody since August 2021, initially in a central Bamako detention centre, before being transferred to the clinic where he died.
A former foreign minister and head of the intelligence service, he was believed to be well connected in Mali’s security establishment and had been accused of financing pro-state militias.
He was appointed Keita’s prime minister in 2017 but resigned in April 2019 over a massacre that left 160 people dead.
Mali has been struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency that first emerged in the north, before spreading to the centre, neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced in the conflict, crippling an already impoverished country.
Army officers led by Goita deposed Keita after weeks of protests over his failure to defeat the jihadists and anger over perceived government corruption.