Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, a prominent Muslim leader from the Central African Republic, passed away on Saturday evening, according to local news outlets.

Layama, president of the Central African Islamic Council, died of heart attack at a hospital in the capital Bangui. He was 63.

He mediated the ongoing conflict between the Christian Anti-Balaka and mostly Muslim Seleka groups in the country.

He was called a “peace envoy” in the country for his contributions to peace and inter-religious dialogue.

The death of the imam comes a few weeks before the presidential and legislative elections in the country scheduled for Dec. 27.

*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara

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