President Ramaphosa conveys condolences on the passing of Burundi’s president

DURBAN, June 10 (ANA) – President of South Africa and chairman of the African Union Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday conveyed his condolences to the government and people of Burundi on the death of their president, Pierre Nkurunziza.

The Burundian government announced on Tuesday that the president had died at the age of 55.

His death comes shortly after Burundi concluded a peaceful electoral process.

Nkurunziza took office in 2005, soon after the country’s ethnic war between the Hutus and the Tutsis that claimed nearly 300,000 lives over a decade.

Nkurunziza was the first president after the country’s civil war and only its second democratically elected president.

“Burundi and all of Africa have lost a leader who was devoted to people-centered sustainable development, self-reliance, the sovereignty of his people and country, as well as peace on the continent,” said Ramaphosa.

“It was under the leadership of President Nkurunziza that Burundi became one of the major troop-contributing countries in the African Union Mission in Somalia. Burundi also deployed troops in the Central African Republic.”

Ramaphosa urged the people of Burundi to maintain the peace in their country after the death of Nkurunziza and in the aftermath of the recently concluded presidential, legislative and municipal elections.

Ramaphosa also made reference to the vital role that South Africa played in the AU-led Burundi peace process, which led to the signing of the Arusha Peace Accords in 2000.

Nkurunziza’s last visit to South Africa was in November 2014, during which several bilateral agreements were signed. These included the Joint Commission of Co-operation (JCC), Cultural Co-operation and the decision to establish a Joint Business Council (JBC).

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher