Africa after Independence has had its fair share of Political bloodshed, from the vicious coup d’état to assassination attempts on leaders, and even the assassination of some leaders. Other leaders also died while in office and the cause of the death of some of them are still being investigated. At least five leaders were confirmed to have been assassinated while in office.

Here is a list of African leaders who were assassinated while in office.


Laurent Kabila

(FILES) Picture dated 19 April shows Laurent-Desire Kabila giving a speech during his first meeting in Lubumbashi. Kabila seized power in former Zaire as head of state 17 May 1997 and renamed the country Democratic Republic of Congo.

Laurent Kabila was a Congolese revolutionary leader and politician who served as the third President of the Democratic Republic of Congo from 17th May 1997 when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko until his assassination by one of his bodyguards in 16th January 2001. Kabila was shot to death in 2001 but the authorities managed to keep power which his son Joseph Kabila succeeded him after his death as the president of Zambia.135 people were arrested and tried by military tribunal following the death of Kabila. Colonel Eddy Kabila’s cousin was alleged the ringleader of the assassination. 25 people were sentenced to death but were not killed and 64 people were jailed while others were exonerated.

Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi


Muammar Gaddafi, also known as Colonel Gaddafi was born in 1942 in Libya. He was a revolutionary leader, politician and a political theorist. He died on 20th October 2011 upon a joint collaboration between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) and other rebel groups namely; Misrata when he was escaping to a valley known as Jarref valley for refuge. According to Othman al-Zintani who was the chief forensic pathologist in Libya said Gaddafi suffered from gunshots that caused his death.

Samuel Doe

Samuel Doe was the first indigenous head of state in Liberia’s history. In 1989, the Liberian Civil War broke out after rebel leader Charles Taylor, invaded the country through Côte d’Ivoire and captured Doe in a guerilla war. Doe was seized by faction leader Prince Y. Johnson after a bloody gun battle at the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group’s peacekeeping headquarters in Monrovia. Doe was tortured before being executed.


Muhammad Anwar al-Sadaat (Egypt, 1981)

Egyptian leader, Mohammed Sadaat was a charismatic leader, who possessed a great skill of oratory, and a knack for risk-taking even with the possibilities of potential political cost. The promising leader was assassinated at a Military parade in 1981 by a group of officers who opposed a peace deal between Egypt and Israel headed by Sadaat, according to them, worsen the economy.

Patrice Lumumba. (DR Congo, 1961)

Patrice Lumumba

Patrice Lumumba was announced Prime Minister in June 1961 at the age of 34. The Congolese Prime Minister suffered a lot of controversies from secessionist groups. This made him seek aid from the Soviet to help in combating these rebels, however, that move eventually led to his deposition by the Army Chief, Joseph Mobutu. Lumumba was finally murdered through a firing squad in 1961.

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