Malam Bacai Sanha, the president of the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, died Monday in a hospital in Paris, France. Sanha had been hospitalized for about a month for an unspecified illness, according to an official at Guinea-Bissau’s embassy in Paris. The 64-year-old had been president for two years after the previous leader was assassinated. The head of the country’s National Assembly, Raimundo Pereira, will take over until new elections can be arranged. The tiny country of 1.6 million had been through many coups since its independence from Portugal in 1974, and Sanha’s election victory in 2009 was a rare bright spot for the nation, though he became known for his frequent checkups abroad.
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