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Friday, February 23, 2007

Chad PM dies in Paris from brain haemorrhage

N'DJAMENA, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Chad's Prime Minister Pascal Yoadimnadji died from a brain haemorrhage in Paris on Friday after he was flown there for urgent treatment following a heart attack. He was 56.

Yoadimnadji, a former agriculture minister, was named prime minister of the central African country in February 2005 by President Idriss Deby, who seized power in a military coup in 1990.

"The prime minister was a great statesman with a strong sense of responsibility to the service of his country. He was a great uniter of the Chadian people," the Chadian government said in a statement.

Chad's ambassador to Paris, Moukhtar Wawa Daha, told Reuters Yoadimnadji had died shortly after midnight from a brain haemorrhage. His body will be flown to Chad for burial.

Yoadimnadji, who as prime minister oversaw the daily running of government, served several times as a minister in Chad. He was also president of the national electoral commission in 1996 during the country's first multi-party elections and was a former president of the country's constitutional council.

Instrumental in implementing reforms in Chad's nascent oil sector, he was reappointed last year after Deby won a fresh five-year term at elections boycotted by the opposition in the impoverished, landlocked former French colony.

Despite becoming one of Africa's newest oil producers, Chad remains near the bottom of the continent's development indices and health facilities are basic.

Deby's government faces a low-intensity war against rebels in eastern Chad as well as ethnic conflict spilling across the border from the neighbouring Sudanese region of Darfur. The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of Chadians.

Infrastructure Minister Adoum Younousmi will act as interim head of the cabinet until Yoadimnadji's successor is chosen.
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