Mogadishu-December 16th, 2013;*Mareeg.com* Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa from Burundi
National Defense Forces (BNDF) has today taken command of the military component of
the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), following a handover ceremony
presided over by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union
Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif.The ceremony was
also attended by the Minister of Defense of the Federal Government of
Somalia-Honorable Abdihakim Faqi, the Minister of National Defense and Former
Combatants of Burundi-Honorable Pontien Gaciyubwenge who also represented Troop
Contributing Countries to AMISOM, the UN SRSG for Somalia-Ambassador Nicholas Kay,
the EU Special Envoy for Somalia-Ambassador Michelle Cervone and the AU Head of
Peace Support Division-Mr. Sivuyile Bam.
The AU Special Representative congratulated Lt. General Ntigurirwa on his
appointment, saying that his experience and knowledge would be of great value to the
international effort in restoring peace and stability in Somalia while thanking the
Outgoing Force Commander Lt. General Andrew Gutti for his dedication to the mission
during his tenure at the helm.
Born in 1968, Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa brings vast experience from the Burundian
army, in which he has served in different capacities, with the last posting being
the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Defense and Former Combatants.He
comes in at a time when the United Nations Security Council approved an additional
4,400 troops for the mission, boosting its number from the current 17,731 to 22,196.
The troops currently serving under AMISOM in Somalia come from Djibouti, Burundi,
Sierra Leone, Kenya and Uganda.
Lt. General Gutti had led the AU peacekeeping forces since May 2nd last year. During
his leadership, AMISOM forces supporting the Somali National Army have registered
significant achievements countrywide allowing political process to take place.
During the handover ceremony, Lt General Gutti was recognized for his good service,
commitment and gallantry. He was lauded for the significant progress made in pushing
out the extremist group al-Shabaab during his tenure, which led to the capturing of
key strategic positions in South and Central Somalia.“I would like to express my
gratitude for your service and contribution towards peace in Somalia. You have set
an example and the new AMISOM leadership should maintain the momentum” said
Lt General Gutti said “With the current set up I see Somalia gaining its former
glory. Within the shortest time Somalia has been recognized by the international
bodies, missions have come here for the first time and there are over 30 missions
operating here now. I envision that this will continue and with the extra troops to
be deployed, AMISOM will achieve much more”.
On his part, the incoming Force Commander, vowed to continue building the momentum
in order to achieve the objectives of the Mission and help bring about security and
stability to Somalia and to the region at large adding that the recent AMISOM
expansion will enable the troops to liberate more areas and serve Somalia better.
The Minister of Defense of the Federal Government of Somalia, Honorable Abdihakim
Faqi expressed his confidence in the incoming Force Commander and thanked the
outgoing Force Commander for his role especially during the period when AMISOM
supported the Somali National Forces in kicking-out Al-Shabaab terrorists from