Former Congolese President (1977-1979) Joachim Yhombi Opango, 81, died Monday in France of the Covid-19, national television said on Tuesday.Opango who hails from North Congo, ruled the country, at the head of a military committee for two years, after the assassination of President Marien Ngouabi on March 18, 1977. He was then ousted from power and put to prison by the current president, Denis Sassou Nguesso.
Released ahead of the country’s national conference, as part of the wind of democracy that swept the Congo in 1991, Joachim Yhombi Opango founded his party, the Rally for Democracy and Development (RDD).
As an ally of former President Pascal Lissouba from 1992 to 1997, the latter had appointed him as Prime Minister from 1994 and 1996, before his exile in France, when Sassou Nguesso returned to power in 1997. He returned from France in 2007 with a failing health that forced him to commute between France and Congo, until his death on Monday, March 30, 2020.
Born in 1939 in the Basin Department (north), he entered the General Leclerc Military Preparatory School in Brazzaville in 1954, where he left in 1957 with the rank of sergeant. Admitted to the French Saint-Cyr Military Combat School in 1960, Joachim Yhombi Opango returned to Congo at the end of his training, with the rank of lieutenant.