Somalia: Former Head of Amisom, Boubacar Diarra, Dies

Malian diplomat Boubacar Diarra, who was the head of the African Union Mission in Somalia between 2010 and 2012, has died.

The Amisom, composed of African Union's combat force in Somalia, announced Mr Diarra's death on Sunday.

Mr Diarra, the former Foreign Affairs Minister of Mali, is remembered for leading the move to drive Al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu before the end of the transitional period for the Somali government which was then headed by Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

"We, the staff of Amisom, honour his legacy and mourn the loss of this great son of Africa. We convey our deep-felt condolences to the family of Ambassador Diarra and the people and government of Mali.

"His indelible footprint shall always be synonymous with counter terrorism, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction across the continent from Somalia to Burundi and to Mali," Amisom said.

The Mission did not indicate cause of death, although official reports in Mali suggested he died from Covid-19 complications.

When he served in Somalia, Diarra was deputised by Kenya's Wafula Wamunyinyi (now MP for Kanduyi). Diarra is credited for overseeing the re-hatting of Kenya's Defence Forces to be a part of Amisom, after the end of Operation Linda Nchi in 2012.

He is also credited with the establishment of security apparatus that saw the Transitional Federal Government adopt a provisional constitution in use today. At the end of his term, he was replaced by Chadian diplomat Mahamat Saleh Annadif.

Diarra then moved on to be African Union's Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and head of the then African Union Office in Bujumbura where he was charged with Burundi's reconstruction after the civil war.

At the time of his death, he was the Permanent Secretary for Crisis Management Political Framework for Central Mali; part of an internationally-supported mission to address violent extremism in Mali's central regions.

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