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2004-09-13 13:25:00
Embassy Djibouti
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L DJIBOUTI 001196 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/13/2014

Classified By: Pol/Econ Erinn C. Reed for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (U) President of the Djiboutian opposition party
Republican Alliance for Democracy (ARD), Ahmed Dini Ahmed,
died during the morning of 12 September 2004 at Peltier
Hospital. Dini had been suffering from lung cancer, which
progressed into metastasis. President Ismail Omar Guelleh
reportedly visited Dini at the hospital last week and offered
medical evacuation to France. Dini reportedly refused the
offer and chose to die in Djibouti.

2. (U) President Guelleh sent a message of condolence to
Dini's family, stating that "the Almighty had recalled our
brother and fellow citizen." He continued that "on behalf of
the nation and myself personally, I am eager to express to
the family of Ahmed Dini our deepest condolences." Guelleh
described Dini as a combatant for freedom, and a statesman of
great qualities who has always known hot to fight for his
faith and his opinions. La Nation, the local Djiboutian
government daily, carried a front page article on what it
described as the "disappearance" of a great figure in
national politics.

3. (U) BIO: Ahmed Dini Ahmed, 70 years old, has been a
prominent and important figure in Djiboutian politics since
the days of colonial administration by France. Born in the
northern district of Obock in 1932, Dini began his political
activity early and was very active in the labor unions. He
became a deputy in the Assemblee Territoriale de la Cote
Francaise (Territorial Parliament) in 1959 and served twice
as Minister in the territorial government. Dini then turned
his efforts towards independence for the country and with
Hassan Gouled Aptidon, became one of the most ferocious
opponents of the territorial government from 1967 to 1977.
When Hassan Gouled Aptidon came to power at independence,
Dini joined him as Prime Minister. Approximately one year
after independence, Dini went into voluntary exile after a
disagreement with Aptidon. In 1991, Dini rejoined the
Djiboutian opposition, rising quickly to the top of the FRUD
party. Dini was at the head of the radical wing of the FRUD
party during the civil war, and refused to sign the 1994
peace agreements. However, he did sign the final peace
accord in 2001. When the restrictions on how many political
parties could exist ended, Dini created the opposition party
Alliance Republicaine pour la Democratie (ARD Republican
Alliance for Democracy), which has been the pillar at the
center of the opposition coalition Union pour l'Alternance
Democratique (UAD Union for Democratic Alternance).

4. (C) Comment: Pol Asst reported that the sentiment around
town during the evening of 12 September was fearful. The
number of police checkpoints throughout the city was notably
increased. (Note: RSO's information indicates that this was
most likely precautionary against public suspicion of foul
play. End Note.) Dini was buried just outside of Djibouti
City at 9pm on 12 September. The burial was attended by many
Government officials and a huge number of his family, as well
as the Sultan of Tadjourah and the traditional leaders of

5. (C) Dini's death will have a significant impact on the
Djiboutian political scene, most especially the political
face of the opposition. Dini was an integral part of
Djiboutian politics for more than 50 years. Dini was also
known as one of the strongest personalities in the
opposition. The succession to Dini's position is likely to
be a struggle between those that see themselves as legitimate
successors, his family and sons, and those that claim to have
been Dini's companion during his twenty years of exile. The
reaction and attitude of the other three opposition parties
is a factor that also remains uncertain. End Comment.