Ethiopia's Meles dead at 57

Aug. 21, 2012 at 8:14 AM
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The Ethiopian government said Tuesday that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has died in a hospital abroad at the age of 57.

The regional strongman, in power for over two decades, has not been seen in public for several months and was reported to have gone to Brussels for medical treatment, Daily Ethiopia reported.

Diplomats and analysts in Addis Ababa said it has not been clear how the government was running since Meles fell ill.

Deputy Prime Minister Halemariam Desalegn has been assigned to take over for Meles, New Business Ethiopia reported.

A former rebel fighter, Meles came to power in 1991 after toppling the dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam.

He left medical school in 1974 to take part in a nationalist revolt against the dictatorship and helped found the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front.

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