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Former Congo leader Joachim Yhombi-Opango dies of coronavirus

Joaquim Yhombi-Opango led the former People's Republic of the Congo, a socialist nation that ultimately became part of the Republic of the Congo in 1992. File Photo by David Rock Design/Pixabay/UPI
Joaquim Yhombi-Opango led the former People's Republic of the Congo, a socialist nation that ultimately became part of the Republic of the Congo in 1992. File Photo by David Rock Design/Pixabay/UPI

March 31 (UPI) -- Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango, the former president of the Republic of the Congo, has died from complications related to the coronavirus disease, his family said. He was 81.

Family members said Yhombi-Opango, who led the African nation from 1977 until 1979, had already been diagnosed with underlying health conditions. He died in Paris.

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Yhombi-Opango led the former socialist People's Republic of the Congo, which is now part of the Republic of Congo.

The former leader's son, Jean-Jacques Yhombi-Opango, made the announcement in a statement on Congo state television.

Yhombi-Opango took power in 1977 after then-president Marien Ngouabi was assassinated, and led the country for two years before being deposed by current leader Denis Sassou Nguesso.

After being imprisoned in the 1980s, Yhombi-Opango served as prime minister in the 1990s before an outbreak of civil war in 1997. He then fled to France, and a decade later was allowed to return to the central African nation.

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