President Salva Kiir has ordered the national flag to fly at half-mast in honor of the late Burundian president, Pierre Nkurunziza who died on Tuesday.
Aged 55, the outgoing president of Burundi died of a sudden illness which the government attributed to a heart attack.
In a condolence message read on state-owned SSBC-TV on Friday evening, President Kiir eulogized Nkurunziza as a leader who stood with the SPLM/A during the liberation struggle that led to the independence of South Sudan.
Kiir says Nkurunziza was a great east African leader whose death was a great loss to the region.
Kiir then ordered the national flag will be flown at half-mast until Nkurunziza is laid to rest.
The Burundi government has declared 7 days of mourning but it is yet to announce funeral programs.
Kenya and Uganda have also ordered flags to fly at half-mast in honor of Nkurunziza.
The late Burundian president was due to step down in August following elections which were won by his party’s flag bearer Evariste Ndayishimiye.
However, the Constitutional Court said on Friday that President-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye should be sworn in as soon as possible.
Legally, the Speaker of parliament, Pascal Nyabenda, should have become the interim leader until the current term ends in August.
But the cabinet decided to refer to the court and now Mr. Ndayishimiye is due to become president two months early.
A former rebel leader, he took over the office in 2005, ruled for 15 years, making him the country’s longest-serving president.
In 2015, the announcement that he would run for a third term plunged the country into chaos.
It sparked anger as some questioned the legality of a third-term bid.
There was a failed coup attempt, hundreds of people died in clashes and tens of thousands fled the country.
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