President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his “profound grief and sadness” over the death of Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Buhari described Nkurunziza as “a true patriot that steered the country through turbulent times with wisdom and foresight.”
An evangelical who believed he was chosen by God to rule the East African nation, Nkurunziza came to power in 2005, when he was selected by parliament. His controversial and ultimately successful bid for a third term in 2015 plunged the country into crisis.
Violence left at least 1,200 people dead, displaced hundreds of thousands and the authorities carried out a sustained crackdown on the opposition and media. His death comes on the heels of elections on May 20 in which his hand-picked successor, Evariste Ndayishimiye, secured a seven-year term as president — a result confirmed by the constitutional court last Thursday.
“At this time of great pain & loss, the Government and people of Nigeria as well as myself, express our deepest condolences to the Government and people of Burundi,” Buhari said. “Our thoughts & prayers also go out to the family of the President. May God grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.”