Ghana president Atta Mills dead at 68
Accra (Alshahid)-Ghana’s president, John Evans Atta Mills, has died suddenly, aged 68.
Mills, who was only months away from completing his first term in office, cancelled meetings and was taken to hospital at midday on Tuesday suffering from an unspecified illness.
A statement from the president’s office, signed by the chief of staff, confirmed his death several hours later, after growing speculation and a near communications blackout in the capital city, Accra.
Ghanaian officials said Mills died a “sudden and untimely death” at a military hospital in the capital, Accra.”
Hours later, Vice President President John Mahama took the oath of office, underscoring Ghana’s stability in a region where the death of a leader can spark a coup attempt.
Unlike Ethiopia, where authorities there have reportedly blocked the publication of a prominent independent newspaper featuring reports on the health of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Ghana is becoming a more open society.
Mills won the presidency in 2008, defeating his opponent by less than 1 percentage point. He was set to seek a second term in an election planned for December. In late 2010, Mills presided over the country’s first oil production for export in a ceremony at the offshore Jubilee field.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “President Mills will be remembered for his statesmanship and years of dedicated service to his country.”