Burundi to demand drawdown review of troops in Somalia

After his two-day visit to Burundi, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has said Burundi peacekeepers contributed much to the consolidation of peace and security in his country. “Burundi troops were the first to land in Somalia in 2007 and fought courageously Al-Shaabab terrorists”, he said.

Burundi and Somali Presidents held a press briefing after a closed-door meeting

He also said he really thanked and admired Pan=Africanism of Burundi peacekeepers to help their Somali counterparts. “Somali people are grateful for what Burundian peacekeepers did for them”, he said adding that Burundi and Somalia will turn their security challenges into common progress by developing their economic relations. “The relations of our countries will not be limited to security domain but we need to explore our economic cooperation”, he said.

The same view is shared by his Burundi counterpart. President Pierre Nkurunziza said they have discussed the role played by Burundi peacekeepers in Somalia since 2007. “Our Burundian troops work hard to consolidate peace and security in that country”, he said.

He, however, said the decision taken by the African Union Commission to reduce Burundian troops in Somalia doesn’t please the country. On 19 December, the African Union Commission announced it had decided that Burundi National Defense Forces be reduced by 1,000 by 28 February 2019.

President Pierre Nkurunziza has also announced that he will discuss the issue with the countries that support AMISOM. “We will talk about the issue with the main objective of taking a clear strategy which pleases each country-contributor”, he said.

Burundi has established partnership with Somalia since 1974. The Burundi contingent is the second largest one within AMISOM with 5,432 troops. The country was also the second to deploy troops into Somalia, its first soldiers having arrived in Mogadishu in December 2007.