600 Burundi troops soon to return from Somalia

Floribert Biyereke, Burundi Army spokesperson has said 600 Burundian soldiers out of 1000 who were supposed to have returned from Somalia are ready to come back home very soon.

Floribert Biyereke: “They are still in Somalia for work reasons”

“They are still in Somalia for work reasons,” he said adding that all AMISOM officials are aware of the issue.

Colonel Floribert Biyereke said that during the public conference of all spokespersons for institutions held in Mwaro Province this 15 March.

Mr Biyereke said the officials of the African Union Mission in Somalia- AMISOM have noticed that there is a need to review the Burundi troops’ positions on the battlefield before being repatriated. “273 troops from all contributing countries in Somalia based in Kismayu area will join sector V occupied by Burundian troops. The remaining 600 Burundi troops will afterwards return home,” he said. Taking a decision is very different from implementing it, he said.

Mr Biyereke adds that the decision to repatriate Burundian troops has taken into consideration the Somali government observation that all Burundian troops should be repatriated after analyzing all possible consequences that would occur if they leave Somali territory.

On 19 February, Somali President carried out a two-day visit in Burundi to discuss with his Burundian counterpart the review of the AU decision. Smaili Chergui, Chairman of the AU Peace and Security Commission had said the decision is irrevocable. .

On 19 December, the African Union Commission announced it had decided that Burundi troops in the African Union Mission in Somalia be reduced by 1,000 by 28 February 2019. 400 troops have already returned since 21 February.

The Burundi contingent is the second largest one within AMISOM with 5,432 troops after Uganda that had deployed 6,200 troops in Somalia.