Robert Guéï

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Robert Guéï (French pronunciation: [ɡe.i]; March 16, 1941 – September 19, 2002) was the military ruler of the Côte d'Ivoire from December 24, 1999 to October 26, 2000.

Guéï was born in Kabakouma, a village in the western Man region, and was a member of the Yakouba tribe. He was a career soldier: under the French administration, he was trained at the Ouagadougou military school and the St Cyr military school in France. He was an ardent supporter of longtime President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who in 1990 appointed him chief of the army following a mutiny. After the death of Houphouët-Boigny in 1993, Guéï became distanced from the new leader Henri Konan Bédié. Guéï's refusal to mobilise his troops to resolve a political struggle between Bédié and the opposition leader Alassane Ouattara in October 1995 led to his dismissal. He was made a minister but sacked again in August 1996 and forced out of the army in January 1997.

Bédié was overthrown in a coup on Christmas Eve, 1999. Although the coup was not led by Guéï, the popular general was encouraged out of retirement to head the junta until the next elections. In the October 2000 elections, Guéï was defeated by Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivorian Popular Front, but he refused to recognize the result and it took a spate of street protests to bring Gbagbo to power. Guéï fled to Gouessesso, near the Liberian border, but remained a figure in the political scene. He was included in a reconciliation forum in 2001 and agreed to refrain from undemocratic methods.

Guéï withdrew from the forum agreement in September 2002, but was killed on September 19, 2002, in the Cocody district of Abidjan at the first hours of the civil war. Circumstances of his death remain mysterious. His wife and several members of his family and the interior minister, Émile Boga Doudou, were also killed.

Following Guéï's death, his body stayed in a morgue until a funeral was held for him in Abidjan on August 18, 2006, nearly four years after his death.[1]

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