Top 11 Most Mysterious Deaths of African Presidents

Umaru Musa Yar’Adua

11 African leaders died in office between 2008 and 2012 compared to only three in the rest of the world. Two of those African leaders, Guinea-Bissau’s Joao Bernardo Vieira and Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi, died under not so peaceful circumstances. But in 2012 alone, the presidents of Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, and Guinea-Bissau (a different president, Malam Bacai Sanhá) died in office of natural causes. All had suffered from mysterious ailments and had denied rumors about their ill health prior to their deaths.

11. Levy Mwanawasa, 59

levy mwanawasa

He was the president of Zambia till August 2008, when he died of a stroke.

10. Lansana Conte, 74


He was the president of Guinea till December 2008, when he died. His cause of death was not disclosed.

9. Joao Barnado Viera, 69

GBISSAU-UNREST-POLITICS-VIEIRA...(FILES) Photo taken on May 18, 2006 of the President of Guinea-Bissau Joao Bernardo Vieira giving a press conference after a bilateral meeting, 18 May 2006, at the EU Commission's Headquarters in Brussels. Vieira was killed by soldiers early today in clashes after a bomb attack in which the West African country's military chief of staff was killed, an army spokesman said. (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

He was the president of Guinea Bissau till March 2009. He died in a bomb blast attack that was said to have been a retaliatory attack by soldiers.

8. Omar Bongo Ondimba, 73

ondimba bongo

He was the second president of Gabon and ruled till June 2009, when he died of a heart attack. He had ruled the country for 41 years by the time of his death.

7. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, 58

nigerian dead president

He was the president of Nigeria who died in office in May 2010. His death was reported to have been as a result of a long battle with kidney and heart problems.

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6. Muammar Gaddafi, 69


He was the Prime Minister of Libya till October 2011. He took power though a coup and ruled for 42 years when he was ousted but legally was still the prime minister until his death.

5. Malam Bacai Sanha, 64


He was the president of Guinea Bissau. He died while still in office in January 2012 at a French hospital.

4. Bingu wa Mutharika, 78

Bingu wa Mutharika an

He was the president of Malawi till April 2012, when he died of a cardiac arrest. His death was left unannounced for days over fears that there would be a power struggle. He was succeeded by the first African female president Joyce Banda.

3. John Atta Mills, 68

Ghana's President John Evans Atta Mills speaks during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington March 8, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

He was the president of Ghana till July 2012, when he died. The cause of his death was said to have been throat cancer.

2. Meles Zenawi, 57


He was the prime minister of Ethiopia until his death. The government said he was taken ill suddenly and died in Belgium while undergoing treatment. His health status had been an issue before his sudden death as he missed a July 2012 summit in Addis Ababa.

1. Michael Sata, 77

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: President of Zambia Michael Chilufya Sata speaks during the U.N. General Assembly on September 24, 2013 in New York City. Over 120 prime ministers, presidents and monarchs are gathering this week for the annual meeting at the temporary General Assembly Hall at the U.N. headquarters while the General Assembly Building is closed for renovations. (Photo by Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images)

He is the latest African president to die in office. He was the president of Zambia till October 2014, when he died of throat complications.



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