Former Guinea-Bissau president Kumba Yala dies

AP News
Posted: Apr 04, 2014 9:41 AM

BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau (AP) — State media in the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau has announced that former President Kumba Yala has died.

Yala, who was elected in 2000 and later ousted in a military coup three years later, died early Friday at the age of 61, according to his personal physician.

A former philosophy teacher, Yala was known for his trademark red woolen hat. He had run for the presidency again in 2012, but another coup kept the country from holding the runoff vote.

During his tenure as president, Yala grew widely unpopular amid a general economic decline, failing to pay salaries of the civil servants and soldiers who would later overthrow him.

Guinea-Bissau has been wracked by coups and corruption ever since independence from Portugal in 1974.