Burundi’s outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza has died of a heart attack aged 55, the government announced Tuesday.
Nkurunziza, a Hutu former rebel leader, became the second president in Burundi to be chosen in democratic elections. He was elected in 2005 after the end of a brutal civil war.
In March 2018, the governing CNDD-FDD party named Nkurunziza the country’s “eternal supreme guide”.
Nkurunziza’s wife Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza was 10 days ago airlifted to Nairobi for treatment after contracting Covid-19.
A source at the Aga Khan University Hospital said Mrs Nkurunziza was receiving treatment for an underlying condition as well.
She was airlifted to Nairobi following a government-to-government agreement using Amref’s acquired portable isolation chamber, which is an innovative medical unit and transportation system designed for optimal safety during patient loading and transport.
Last month, Burundi’s ruling party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye won the presidential election with 68.7 percent of the vote, the country’s poll commission said.
The retired army general will take over the helm after beating opposition rival Agathon Rwasa who garnered 24.19 percent of the vote.
Burundians went to the ballot on May 20 in an election that fielded seven candidates.
The election marked the end of Nkurunziza’s 15-year-long rule after his attempt to seek a third term led to riots and political unrest.