Saturday, May 30, 2009

Former Sudan leader Nimeiri dies

Former Sudanese President Jaafar Nimeiri, who brought Islamic law to the country, has died at the age of 79, government officials say.

Mr Nimeiri died after developing "an illness", presidential assistant Magdi Abdel Aziz said. He did not provide any further details.

Mr Nimeiri came to power in a 1969 coup that ended years of civilian rule in Africa's biggest nation.

He later became a close US ally before being ousted, also in a coup, in 1985.

"He was too ill to be taken out of the country for treatment," Mr Nimeiri's secretary Makkawi Ahmed was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The funeral would be held on Sunday in Omdurman, near the capital Khartoum, officials said.

Mr Nimeiri returned to Sudan in 1999 after spending 14 years in exile in Cairo, Egypt.