World, Africa

Burundi's President Nkurunziza dies of heart attack

Pascal Nyabenda, president of National Assembly, to be sworn in as interim president

Felix Tih   | 09.06.2020
Burundi's President Nkurunziza dies of heart attack


Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza has died after suffering a heart attack, the country’s presidency announced on Tuesday. He was 55.

Nkurunziza died at a hospital in the city of Karusi, Central Burundi on Monday, it said, adding that the government has declared a seven-day mourning.

"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 [...] following heart failure on June 8, 2020," the statement read.

“Burundi has lost a son, a President and a key figure of patriotism. He was an example to the people of Burundi as someone who respected God. I urge Burundians to remain calm and continue praying for the soul of the President."

According to the presidency, he watched a volleyball match on Saturday afternoon in Ngozi but became unwell later that night.

Pascal Nyabenda, president of the National Assembly, to be sworn in as interim president.

Nkurunziza became president of Burundi in 2005 after being voted by parliament.

He was re-elected in 2010, and in 2015 when he won a controversial third term despite opposition protests and international condemnation.

Nkurunziza's candidacy had been condemned as unconstitutional by the opposition, sparking months of protests and an attempted coup in mid-May of that year.

He did not take part in last month's presidential elections.

His wife Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza is being treated for coronavirus in Nairobi, Kenya.

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