Ghana prepares to bury John Atta Mills

BBC

The funeral of Ghanaian President John Atta Mills, who died suddenly in July, is to be held in the capital Accra.

A man consoles two women mourning the death of Ghanaian President John Atta Mills in the capital Accra on 9 August 2012

Thousands of Ghanaians are expected to attend, as well as some 18 African heads of state and visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mills, who had long suffered from throat cancer, died only five months before he was set to seek re-election.

The BBC’s Vera Kwakofi in Accra says his death united Ghanaians in grief, and many are still in shock.

She says his death was seen as a test for the country’s young democracy.

Mills, who started a four-year term in January 2009, was succeeded by Vice-President John Dramani Mahama.

Ghana has won international plaudits for the swift manner in which it handled the transition.

Mills is to be buried in a bird sanctuary next to the seat of government, the 17th-century Fort Christiansborg, also known as Osu Castle, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

Tens of thousands of Ghanaians have been streaming into Accra in the past two days to pay their last respects to Mills as he lay in state.

Some mourners queued for hours, many of them wailing with grief, in lines up to 10km (6 miles) long outside the State House in Accra.

Hillary Clinton arrived from Nigeria to attend the funeral on Thursday, on the last stop of her 11-day seven-nation tour of Africa.

She is also due to hold talks with President Mahama. Read more…

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