Politics

Burundi orders WHO official to leave country

Burundi Foreign Affairs Minister Ezechiel Nibigira did not deny or confirm the letter in a phone interview, but a source at the ministry confirmed its authenticity.
There are no restrictions on movement in Burundi over the coronavirus pandemic

Burundi has expelled the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the country and three other health experts.

An unsigned letter from the foreign affairs ministry declares the WHO representative Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo and three others as “persona non grata” and gives them 48 hours to leave the country.

The others are Prof Tarzy Daniel, Dr Ruhana Mirindi Bisimwa and Dr Jean Pierre Murunda.

Burundi Foreign Affairs Minister Ezechiel Nibigira did not deny or confirm the letter in a phone interview, but a source at the ministry confirmed its authenticity to the BBC.

The ministry has not given reasons for the expulsion of the officials.

Burundi government is facing criticism for organising elections amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Campaign rallies by candidates for the presidency are taking place across the nation ahead of the 20 May election and no measures to contain the virus are being observed – sparking fears of its imminent spread.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, the International Crisis Group said the Burundi government is working in denial, questioning the number of coronavirus cases the country has announced.

The country has reported 15 cases so far including one death.

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