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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, an ex-guerrilla chief who took power after independence from white minority rule in 1980 and presided over a country whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil and allegations of human rights violations, has died in Singapore at the age of 95.

Mugabe enjoyed strong support among the population and even the West soon after taking over as Prime Minister and Zimbabwe’s first post-colonial leader. But he was reviled in later years as the economy collapsed and human rights violations increased. His often violent takeover of farms from whites who owned huge tracts of land made him a hated figure in the West and a hero in Africa.

His successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced Mugabe’s death in a tweet Friday, mourning him as an “icon of liberation.”

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