By Seun Adeuyi
Burundi’s former President, Pierre Buyoya has died in Paris of COVID-19 at the age of 71.
AFP quoted a member of his family requesting anonymity as saying, “President Pierre Buyoya died last night in Paris. He had Covid-19.”
He “had been hospitalised Wednesday last week in Bamako where he was placed on a respirator,” AFP quoted the family member to have said.
The source added, “He was evacuated to Paris yesterday afternoon. His plane made a stopover and arrived in France in the evening. He died as the ambulance took him to hospital in Paris for treatment.”
Several other relatives also confirmed the death of Buyoya to AFP.
Buyoya, an ethnic Tutsi, first came to power in Burundi, one of the smallest countries in Africa, in a coup in 1987. He stepped down in 1993 in the country’s first democratic elections in which Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu, resoundingly beat him.
But hardline ethnic Tutsi soldiers killed Ndadaye just four months into the job.
His murder plunged Burundi into years of civil war between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis.
Buyoya became president again after a coup, ruling from 1996 to 2003.