Burundi’s former president Pierre Buyoya, who served two terms, has died aged 71, according to reports.
Buyoya served as president twice, from 1987-1993 and then 1996-2003.
No details have been released yet but sources say he succumbed to an undisclosed illness.
His death comes three weeks after he had resigned from the position of the High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel Region.
Announcing his resignation, Buyoya said he needed time to focus on legal battles back home, following his trial in absentia and sentencing to life in prison.
Burundi’s top court sentenced Buyoya to life imprisonment in late October 2020, for alleged assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye who had won the 1993 elections.
His murder plunged the nation into years of civil war.
Buyoya rejected the ruling, dismissing the case as a “sham”.
He first rose to power through a coup in 1987 after overthrowing Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, before stepping down after losing the 1993 vote election to Ndadaye.
Ndadaye died after only four months in office and was succeeded by Cyprien Ntaryamira, who later died in a plane crash alongside then Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana, in April 1994.
Ntaryamira was replaced by Sylvestre Ntibantunganya in an interim capacity before Buyoya took over again in 1996. He would again leave the presidency following a peace deal in 2003.
Buyoya’s passing comes six months after the death of Pierre Nkurunziza, 55, who was serving his last days as president of Burundi.
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