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Guinea-Bissau: President Malam Bacai Sanha dead in Paris

Malam Bacai Sanha, president of Guinea-Bissau, a tiny West African nation, has died in Paris, France where he was undergoing medical treatment for an undisclosed illness.

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Guinea-Bissau's President Malam Bacai Sanha has died in hospital in Paris, aged 64. Sanha, who took office in 2009, had traveled to France for medical treatment for an undisclosed illness. (SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Guinea-Bissau's President Malam Bacai Sanha is dead at the age of 64.

Sanha died at a Paris hospital, the BBC reported, citing national radio bulletins in the tiny West African country.

Sanha, who came to power in 2009 after his predecessor was assassinated, was in poor health and had traveled to France for medical treatment in late November. Before that he had received intensive care treatment at a hospital in Senegal.

The nature of Sanha's illness was not disclosed, but he is believed to have suffered from diabetes, the BBC said. His departure from Guinea-Bissau for treatment abroad had raised fears of a military coup in the country. 

Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south.  

According to Reuters, the people of Guinea-Bissau learned of Sanha's death from a statement issued by the president's office and read over local radio. 

"With pain and sadness, the president's office reports to the people of Guinea-Bissau and to the international community the death of His Excellency the President, Malam Bacai Sanha, this morning, Jan. 9, at Val de Grace hospital where he was being treated," the statement said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120109/guinea-bissau-president-dead-malam-bacai-sanha-dies-paris-france