“#Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza may be first world leader to die of COVID-19”
June 10, 2020 | 5:02pm
The government announced Tuesday that 55-year-old Nkurunziza had died from a heart attack, but opposition sources say the cause of death was COVID-19, according to the Telegraph.
Sources said the leader was admitted to a hospital in Karuzi after he fell ill over the weekend, the outlet reported. One of the country’s few ventilators was flown out to try and save the ailing leader.
“It arrived too late,” a source told the outlet. “He deteriorated very quickly.”
Meanwhile, his wife, Denise Bucumi, had been treated for the virus last month in Naiorobi, Kenya, after suffering similar symptoms, the outlet reported, citing Kenyan officials.
“When Nkurunziza’s wife was flown to Kenya suffering from COVID-19, many in Burundi suspected the president himself was sick,” said Justin Nyabenda, a resident in Bujumbura.
The country has only reported 83 coronavirus cases and one death, with officials claiming that faith had largely spared them from the pandemic, the outlet reported.
“Burundi is an exception because it is a country that has put God first,” Nkurunziza’s spokesman said in late March.
The government waited 24 hours before announcing “with great sadness the unexpected death” of its leader.
His death comes weeks before president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye was expected to be sworn in after clinching the May election.
With Post wires
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