Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza dies of ‘heart attack’ at 55

Burundi’s outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza has died
Burundi’s outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza has died.

Gitega, Burundi | URN | Outgoing Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, 55, has died of a heart attack, Burundian government has announced.

Nkurunzia was admitted in hospital in Karusi on Monday 8th, June 2020 after reportedly testing positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) according to some local media outlets.

His wife also outgoing First Lady, Denise Nkurunziza was airlifted to Aga Khan hospital in Nairobi, Kenya about 10 days ago reportedly after testing positive for COVID-19.

“The Government of the Republic of Burundi announces with great sadness the unexpected death of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi, at the Hospital of the Fifty Years of Karusi following a cardiac arrest on 8 June 2020,” said a statement from the Government of Burundi posted on Twitter.

Born on December 18, 1964, Nkurunziza came to power in 2005 and ruled Burundi with an iron fist, always urging citizens to refer to him as ‘supreme leader’. During his reign, an estimated 500,000 Burundians were forced into exile or in neighbouring countries as refugees due to the brutality of his government forces who tolerated no dissent.

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His death comes just weeks after Burundi concluded its presidential elections on May 20 following month-long campaigns in which his ruling party candidate, Maj Gen Evariste Ndayishimiye won the vote by 69 per cent and was due to be sworn in later in August this year.

Burundi together with Tanzania disregarded World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines to lockdown their countries to stop the spread of coronavirus.