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Former Congolese President Succumbs to COVID-19

Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango, died in a Paris hospital on Monday, he was 81. The former statesman was ill before he contracted the virus, his son told reporters. He led Congo-Brazzaville from 1977 until he was toppled in 1979, being ousted by the country’s current leader, Denis Sassou Nguesso. Accused of taking part in a coup plot against Sassou Nguesso, Yhombi-Opango was jailed from 1987 to 1990. When civil war broke out in Congo in 1997, Yhombi-Opango fled into exile in France. He was finally able to return home in 2007, but then divided his time between France and Congo because of his health problems. Yhombi-Opango now becomes part of the many famous Africans who have since tested positive for the coronavirus including Burkina Faso’s Vice-President of Parliament, Rose-Marie Compaore, Idris Elba, Davido’s fiancé Chioma Rowland and the late Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba Mandela. More recently, Cameroonian jazz legend Manu Dibango passed away after battling the coronavirus during his hospitalisation in France. The total number of confirmed cases in Africa has now surpassed 2400 cases with at least 60 reported deaths. Congo has confirmed 19 cases of coronavirus thus far.