The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Commander, Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa has completed his tour of duty. The outgoing Burundian Commander was sent off with an exemplary Guard of Honour by joint Burundian and Ugandan forces on Monday 15th December 2014.-By Lorraine JosianeManishatse
During his year-long command, the Mission recorded significant military victories against Al-Shabaab militants by liberating many strategic towns, including the former stronghold of Baraawe, under Operation Indian Ocean and Operation Eagle.
Iwacu met with Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa after he returned to Burundi.
Are you satisfied with your achievements in Somalia?
Before leaving Burundi, my goal was to bring peace and security in Somalia. I started my mandate in December 2013, I am very satisfied with my achievements during my tenure and it is a source of pride for Burundi. Our key achievements included the liberation of 26 towns and 80% of Somalia territories that had been seized by terrorists.
Why did a Burundian lead AMISON for only one year whereas the previous leader, a Ugandan led it for six years?
AMISOM was created by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council on 19 January 2007. As it was Uganda that started Peace keeping mission in Somalia it was considered thecountry’s initiative. Ugandans occupied all posts initially, and that is the reason why Uganda led AMISOM for six years. Since 2012, other countries, including Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone have participated in the AMISOM mission. Since that moment, the AMISOM organizers decided to implement a rotation system regarding who is in command of the AMISOM troops. In 2013, it was the mandate of a Burundian and I will be succeeded by a Kenyan.
Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa, now what is your occupation?
I have only recently returned to Burundi. I am currently in a rest period.
Why do you think you were selected for the post of AMISOM Commandant?
I think that I was selected thanks to my CV. From 2000-2012, I attended numerous international trainings, for which I received certification. I worked on consultancies in Demobilization, Reintegration and Security Sector Reform. From 2012 to December 2013, I was a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Defense and Former Combatants. I have extensive experience in a wide range of fields, including defense, security, civil protection, peace keeping process, peace consolidation, conflicts resolution, ceasefire and peace negotiations, army integration and management of army human resources.