Nkurunziza, Pierre

Nkurunziza, Pierre nko͞oro͞onzē´zä [key], 1964–2020, Burundian political leader. A Hutu whose father was killed (1972) in an ethnic massacre, he taught physical education until 1995 when renewed ethnic strife forced him to flee Bujumbura, then the capital. He fought for the rebel Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) and was seriously injured in 1999. Elected head of the FDD two years later, he signed a cease-fire agreement with the government in 2003. Nkurunziza was a minister in the transitional government that followed and was elected president in 2005 and reelected in 2010 and in 2015. His presidency was marked by increasing political repression and violence, especially by the ruling party's youth militia. His reelections were largely boycotted or uncontested, and although the constitutional court allowed him to run in 2015, that reelection was widely regarded as violating presidential term limits. He died in office.

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