STORY: SOMALIA – AMISOM BURUNDIAN TROOPS ROTATIONS
SOURCE: AU/UN IST
RESTRICTIONS: This media asset is free for editorial broadcast, print, online and radio use. It is not to be sold on and is restricted for other purposes. All enquiries to email@example.com
CREDIT REQUIRED: AU/UN IST
DATELINE: 30 AUGUST 2013, MOGADISHU, BAIDOA, SOMALIA
All packed and ready to go, members of the Burundian National Defence Force serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), have ended their tour of duty and are being replaced by a new battalion from Burundi, to serve in the peacekeeping mission. The AU mission is tasked with bringing security and stabilizing the Horn of African Nation that had been at war for over 2 decades.
The rotating troops have been in Somalia for the past year serving along side other African troops that make up the peacekeeping force from Uganda, Djibouti, Kenya and Sierra Leone. The troops are mandated to support the Somali National Forces in the fight against the Al Qaeda linked extremist group al Shabaab.
Burundian troops first deployed in Somalia in 2007, at the height of street battles, mortar fire and suicide bombings in the capital Mogadishu. They fought along side troops from Uganda and eventually forced the al Shabaab insurgents out of Mogadishu in 2011.
Two years on and the Islamist extremists al Shabaab have lost a sting of towns and cities they once controlled in south-central Somalia paving to way for improved security and an internationally recognised Federal government.
Welcoming the troops and touring of their bases in Baidoa the capital of the Bay region, the Burundi Chief of Defence Force, Major General Prime Niyongabo reminded the troops of how important a role they are playing to bring place and stability to Somalia and the region.
Major General Niyongabo had himself served under AMISOM in Somalia as the Burundian contingent commander, as he is amazed at the progress achieved.
“There are many changes from the time I was here as the Burundian Contingent Commander if you compare the current situation.” Said Major General Niyongabo, “There has been a very big improvement in peace and security situation. ”
The AMISOM Burundian contingent, part of the 17,000 strong African Union Forces has infantry troops stationed in the capital Mogadishu, as well as in Baidoa and Marka.
Burundi like Somalia, experienced war within its own boarders for