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Tuesday, 20 January, 1998, 17:39 GMT
'Mother of Nation' dies in Ivory Coast

The death has been announced in Ivory Coast of the woman many have described as the mother of the nation -- Mamie Faitai.

Thought to be about one hundred years old, she was the older sister of the late President Felix Houphouet-Boigny.

The BBC West Africa correspondent says Madame Faitai is believed to have wielded enormous influence over her younger brother, who led the country from independence until his own death in 1993.

Madame Faitai was assumed to have influenced many ministerial appointments.

On one occasion, President Houphouet-Boigny is said to have sent her on a visit to Geneva so that he could make his own decisions about a government reshuffle.

Our correspondent saysMadame Faitai's funeral is expected to be a lavish affair.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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