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Amadou Ali :
A great man is leaving

By Emmanuelle Pontié - Published on November 2022

After spending nearly 35 years in the Cameroonian government, he was probably one of the most emblematic figures of the Biya years. After serving as Delegate General for Tourism, then for the National Gendarmerie, and Secretary of State for Defense, Amadou Ali was appointed Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic in 1996. He was then appointed Minister of State for Defense and Keeper of the Seals. In 2004, he became Deputy Prime Minister, and ended his career as Minister Delegate to the Presidency in charge of Relations with the Assemblies.Retired from business since 2019, weakened by heart problems, he continues to be regularly consulted by the head of state, who entrusted him with his last mission on April 15, when he went to Chad to deliver a letter to the president of the transitional military council, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno. In 2006, Paul Biya put him in charge of the famous Operation Sparrowhawk, a vast anti-corruption campaign aimed at tracking down the country's elites, and for which he earned a lot of enmity. He was also the one who took charge of the Bakassi peninsula, a border territory disputed between Cameroon and Nigeria. This Kanouri native of Kolofata, located in the Far North region, on the border with Nigeria, will also participate in the fight against Boko Haram, before suffering a bloody attack at his home during which his wife will be kidnapped by the terrorist sect in late July 2014. She would remain a hostage for three months.

Beyond the public man, Amadou Ali was simple, honest, he received without unnecessary pomp in his villas in Yaoundé, Maroua or Kolofata. Always smiling in his large boubous, he welcomed, over a cup of tea and a plate of kilichis, collaborators, visitors, and a host of informants from all walks of life who gave him the status of one of the best informed men in Cameroon. Very cultured, passionate about reading, he tirelessly asked his friends to bring him the latest published works. In Kolofata, he had built a modern hospital, run by two American doctors, which became a reference in the sub-region. He cultivated hectares of mangoes and multiplied agricultural experiments, such as the cultivation of grapes of which he was very proud. Particularly faithful in friendship, he warmly received his relatives, with whom he could exchange for hours on the country, politics, international news, religions, history. He passed away on September 27, at the age of 79, upon his return to Yaoundé from his umpteenth medical evacuation to Switzerland. We spoke on the phone a month ago. Amadou Ali, a deeply religious Muslim, knew that his departure was near and spoke of it with serenity. He even joked that he would not live as long as his father, who had died at the age of 100. Amadou Ali was my friend for over twenty years. And Cameroon has just lost a great man.