Burundi’s outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza has died, aged 55, the government of the central African nation announced on Tuesday.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Government of the Republic of Burundi said President Nkurunziza had died following a cardiac arrest.
“URGENT: 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 Karusi Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital following a cardiac arrest on June 8, 2020,” statement read in part.
– Pierre Nkurunziza –
Born December 18, 1964, Pierre Nkurunziza served as the elected President of Burundi since 2005. Before his election, Pierre Nkurunziza was the Chairman of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD).
In 2015, Nkurunziza was controversially nominated by his party for a third term in office. Supporters and opponents of Nkurunziza disagreed as to whether it was legal for him to run again, and protests followed. More than two months of anti-Nkurunziza protests, which were often violently repressed, left at least 100 dead.
On 13 May 2015, a coup attempt against Nkurunziza occurred while he was out of the country; the coup leader, Godefroid Niyombare, claimed to have ousted Nkurunziza, but Nkurunziza loyalists disputed the claim. Facing resistance from Nkurunziza loyalists, the coup collapsed and forces loyal to Nkurunziza appeared to be back in full control by 15 May.
Amidst an opposition boycott, Nkurunziza was reelected to a third term in the July 2015 presidential election. On 7 June 2018, Nkurunziza announced that he would not seek another term when his current term ends in 2020.
On 9 June 2020, the government of Burundi announced that Nkurunziza had died of a heart attack.
Africa Tembelea understands that the country would observe seven days of mourning beginning Tuesday.