Guinea-Bissau president dies in Paris
January 9, 2012 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Guinea Bissau's President Malam Bacai Sanha pictured in Lisbon on February 17, 2010.
- President Malam Bacai Sanha died at Val-de-Grace Hospital in Paris on Monday
- He became president in September 2009 in a runoff election
- Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by political unrest, poverty and drug trafficking
Paris (CNN) -- President Malam Bacai Sanha of Guinea-Bissau died early Monday, according to an official at the West African nation's embassy in Paris. He was 64.
The official said Sanha was in Paris for treatment, and died at Val-de-Grace Hospital.
Sanha became president in September 2009, months after the assassination of President Joao Bernardo Vieira. Sanha had served as interim president and defeated another former president, Kumba Yala, in a runoff election.
Guinea-Bissau's history has been marked by military coups and attempted coups since the nation of 1.5 million gained independence from Portugal in 1974. Those conflicts ravaged the nation's infrastructure and economy and left it among the poorest in the world.
Despite Sanha's coming to power in what international observers deemed a fair and peaceful election, his tenure was marked by turmoil among the country's military and political leadership.
Last month, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the use of violence in what was suspected to be a military coup attempt, saying in a statement, "The primacy of the lawful civilian authorities according to the constitution must be respected."
And, despite the Parliament's call to fight drug trafficking, Guinea-Bissau is still considered an increasingly important transit point for cocaine en route from South America to Europe, according to the CIA Factbook.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.