The Burundian government announced the death of President Pierre Nkurunziza, aged 55, on Tuesday (Reuters 1). Nkurunziza initially fell ill on Saturday after attending a volleyball game and went to the hospital that evening (Al Jazeera). Though he seemed to have recovered on Sunday, his condition rapidly deteriorated Monday morning (Al Jazeera). Officials report cardiac arrest as the cause of death (Reuters 1).

Burundians have expressed suspicion as to Nkurunziza’s true cause of death (Al Jazeera). His wife, Denise Nkurunziza, has been receiving medical treatment in Kenya after she allegedly tested positive for COVID-19 (BBC). Nkurunziza downplayed the COVID-19 crisis, expelling representatives from the World Health Organization and holding elections in the middle of the crisis (BBC). The constitutional court will identify an interim president to lead the country until president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye takes office in August (Reuters 2).


Posted June 23, 2020