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Burundi’s First Lady Denise Nkurunziza Returns Home From Kenya Following Husband’s Death

Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza

Burundi’s First Lady Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza has returned home after being hospitalized in Kenya for close to two weeks.

She was airlifted to Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi after contracting the deadly COVID-19.

Kahawa Tungu reported that Mrs Nkurunziza arrived in the capital city aboard Amref plane registration 5Y-FDP around 10 AM according to online flight logs.

Her departure from Bujumbura was treated with a lot of secrecy as most of the airport staff were barred from accessing her records while the airport manager personally processed her travel documents.

Now, the BBC reports, Mrs Nkurunziza, a philanthropist landed on Tuesday evening, hours after her husband Pierre Nkurunziza’s passing.

Online sources indicate that the former immigration officer landed at the Melchior Ndadaye International Airport in Bujumbura last evening.

“Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza arrived on board a non-medicalised flight by the Kenyan private company Phoenix. It was a jet with the captain and the co-pilot only,” SOS Media Burundi reported.

She was apparently received by Kenyan Ambassador to Burundi Ken Vitisia.

Government officials who spoke to BBC denied reports that she was receiving treatment for COVID-19.

Her husband passed on two days ago over what the state claimed was a cardiac arrest.

He died at Cinquantenaire Hospital where he had been hospitalised.

Whereas the government indicated in a statement on Tuesday evening that the outgoing Head of State died following a cardiac arrest, sources indicate that he died from Covid-19 related complications.

“He watched a volleyball match on Saturday afternoon in Ngozi but became unwell later that night. He was rushed to hospital and by Sunday his health had improved. He was able to interact with people who were around him,” a statement from the government spokesperson read in part.

The Burundian Government has announced seven days of national mourning and the country’s flags will fly half-mast during this period.

The departed head of state kept mum on the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Nkurunziza had not taken any measures to contain the spread of the disease such as social distancing and wearing of masks like many East African countries.

The Burundi government had last month ordered the country’s top World Health Organization (WHO) representative and three other experts coordinating the novel coronavirus response to leave the country.

Burundi, through its foreign ministry in a letter dated May 12 said the four officials “are declared persona non grata and as such, must leave the territory of Burundi”.

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