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Burundi's former President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza dies

05 May 2016, 10:31

Bujumbura - Burundi's government says former President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza has died in Belgium, where he received medical care for two weeks.

Philippe Nzobonariba, a Burundian government spokesperson, said on Wednesday that "the nation has lost a great figure and tireless worker." He said Burundian flags will fly at half-mast for three days to mourn Bagaza.

Colonel Bagaza, 69, ruled Burundi for over a decade between 1976 and 1987 after seizing power by force. His regime was marked by a period of relative stability. He was deposed in a bloodless coup.

In recent years Bagaza had taken part in some Ugandan-mediated efforts to end violence in Burundi stemming from President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision last year to seek a third term.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the current unrest.

- AP


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