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    The former President of Mali, Modibo Keita, died in hospital there on Monday (16 May).?

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    The former President of Mali, Modibo Keita, died in hospital there on Monday (16 May). Mr Keita, who was deposed in a military coup in 1968, was aged 62. He died in detention in hospital in Bamako, the Malien capital.

    SYNOPSIS: Paris, 1960 -- and President Keita visited the French capital only months after becoming Mali's first head of state in June that year. The French capital was familiar territory for him -- he'd served in the French National Assembly before independence. For a brief period between 1959 and 1960, he'd led the abortive Federation between Mali, Senegal, the Upper Volta and Dahomey -- now Benin.

    President Keita soon developed an interest in the Non-Aligned Nations movement, going to Washington in 1961 with President Sokarno of Indonesia to represent the movement in talks with United States President John Kennedy.

    Back home, 1964 -- and a welcome for another international figure, Prime Minister Chou En-lai of China. But by this time, President Keita's regime was in trouble. He'd arrested Mali's two principal opposition leaders, and in general elections that year forbade opposition candidates to appear in public.

    May Day, 1968 -- and while the founding President was exhorting the people to keep a 'revolutionary vigilance' against colonialism, his own time was running out. On November the 19th, he was deposed in a military coup led by today's head of state, Colonel Moussa Traore, after ordering the arrest of several army officers connected with an increasingly vocal opposition. Keita was detained by the new regime until his death on Monday.

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