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Burundi holds state funeral for former President Pierre Nkurunziza

Saturday June 27 2020
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The state funeral of former Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza on June 26, 2020. PHOTO | TCHANDROU NITANGA | AFP

By XINHUA

GITEGA

Late Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, who died in office of heart attack on June 8, was laid to rest on Friday at a state funeral in political capital Gitega, central Burundi.

Burundians dressed in white mourned him at the Ingoma stadium in Gitega, after his remains were conveyed from the hospital in Karusi province where he received treatment and died.

His coffin, covered by Burundi's national flag, was then escorted to the site of a monument and laid to rest.

Newly-inaugurated Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye praised his predecessor for having qualities of bravery, patriotism, humility and love of work in a speech during the solemn ceremony.

"Your unexpected death was felt like a very hard blow to the Burundian people and ourselves," said Ndayishimiye.

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Denise Nkurunziza, Nkurunziza's wife, in her address thanked all the people who have brought comfort to Nkurunziza's family during "moments of hard trials."

She expressed gratitude to Ndayishimiye for his various support to herself and her five children before and after taking office.

Senior delegates from other African countries including Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete attended the funeral.

Born in 1964 in northern Burundi's Ngozi province, Nkurunziza, the former Hutu rebel leader, was elected president of Burundi by lawmakers in 2005, and was re-elected through universal suffrage in 2010 and in 2015.

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