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UN health agency mourns death of its representative in Burundi

UN health agency mourns death of its representative in Burundi

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today reacted with shock and grief to the death of its representative in Burundi, a six-year agency veteran who only recently began his assignment in the country.

"It is with great sadness that we hear of the tragic and untimely death of Dr. Kassi Manlan," WHO Director-General Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland said in a statement released at the UN agency's headquarters in Geneva.

"Dr. Manlan has worked hard, most recently in Burundi, to promote better health and well-being of the people of Africa," she said. "His death will leave a void in the lives of many, though we will forever remember his personal and professional achievements and his contribution to Africa's development."

A national of Côte d'Ivoire, Dr. Manlan joined the UN agency in 1995. Starting in 1998, he was in charge of the Development of Human Resources for Health unit in the WHO Regional Office for Africa. He assumed the post of WHO Representative in Burundi earlier this year. Dr. Manlan was married and had four children.

Dr. Manlan was reported missing from his house in the capital, Bujumbura, on Tuesday morning. The circumstances of his death are currently under investigation, WHO said.