Kiir order President Salva Kiir has ordered flags to fly half-mast across the country in honour of the late president of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza who suddenly died on Tuesday, June 9 aged 55.

According to an order read on state TV, SSBC on Friday evening, the national flag will be flown half-mast until Nkurunziza is laid rest. Burundi government is yet to announce the funeral program for Nkurunziza.

The outgoing president of Burundi died of a sudden illness, suspected by many to be Covid-19. Government describes Pierre Nkurunziza’s ‘unexpected’ death as a heart attack. Nkurunziza was due to step down in August following elections which were won his party’s flag bearer Evariste Ndayishimiye.

In a condolence message also read on SSBC on Friday, Kiir said Nkurunziza stood with SPLM/A during the liberation struggle of South Sudan. He described the late Burundian president as a great East African leader and his death was a great loss to the region.

Nkurunziza, a former rebel took over the office in 2005, ruled the country for 15 years, making him the first Burundi president to rule this long. Nkurunziza was expected to finish his third term this August when president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye is expected to be sworn in.

7 days of national mourning have been announced in the country. Kenya and Uganda have also ordered flags to fly half-mast in honour of Nkurunziza.