Pierre Nkurunziza obituary
President of Burundi whose 15-year rule was ultimately marked by violence and repression
Pierre Nkurunziza, who has died unexpectedly aged 55, was the outgoing president of Burundi whose 15-year-rule, particularly towards the end, was marked by brutal repression.
In 2015, Nkurunziza’s decision to run for an unconstitutional third term led to an outbreak of protests and violence that spread across the country. He responded with brutal violence. Over the next two years, his youth-led militia group, known as the Imbonerakure, as well as various state security forces, killed more than 1,200 Burundians in an attempt to quash street protests. Four hundred thousand more fled the country. A born-again Christian, Nkurunziza spent much of that time organising prayer meetings.