The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Madeira has commended Burundi for its selfless contribution in stabilizing Somalia.
Speaking yesterday in Mogadishu when he received the deputy Chief of Defense Forces of the Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF), Maj-Gen. Joseph Ndayishimiye, at the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) headquarters, the SRCC commended Burundi for upholding the spirit of Pan Africanism by being part of the peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
“Burundians are playing a very important role in pushing forward our mandate (of stabilizing Somalia). When we see senior officials coming to visit (the country) and get information on what is taking place, it raises our morale and the morale of our soldiers,” Ambassador Madeira said, adding such visits were also an opportunity for the leadership of the AU Mission to discuss key issues with senior officials from Troop Contributing Countries.
Maj-Gen. Ndayishimiye, who was part of the Burundian contingent that pushed Al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu in 2010, is in Somalia on a five-day official visit.
The Burundian official said he was impressed with the achievements made and reiterated his country’s commitment to helping the AU Mission achieve its mandate of restoring peace and security in the horn of Africa country.
“We (Burundian forces) were here in 2009 and 2010 when Mogadishu was divided into two. Today we can look back and see the achievements AMISOM has made, which are, indeed, very commendable,” the Burundi Deputy Chief of Defence Forces added.
During his visit Maj-Gen. Ndayishimiye will visit the Burundian contingent serving under AMISOM in Sector Five, based in Jowhar, and the Academy in Mogadishu.
The BNDF deputy CDF who was accompanied by the Burundian contingent commander, Brigadier-General Leonidas Niyungeko, also paid a courtesy call on the AMISOM Deputy Force Commander, Maj-Gen. Tai Gituai.
Receiving Maj-Gen. Ndayishimiye, at the Force headquarters, on behalf of the AMISOM Force Commander, Maj-Gen. Tai Gituai, thanked Burundi for its contribution to the liberation of Mogadishu.
“I also want to thank you as the commander of the Burundian forces. Burundi and Uganda were the first force to come here and we are grateful for the contributions even before they were joined by other troop contributing countries,” Maj-Gen. Gituai said.
The deputy Force Commander also briefed the BNDF official on the transition plan agreed by AMISOM, the United Nations, the Federal government of Somalia and development partners.
“The Transition Plan is focused on ensuring that the SNA (Somali National Army) is capable of taking over the areas that AMISOM would hand over to them,” MajGen. Gituai said, noting that the condition-based plan would also see AMISOM forces reconfigured and reduced by at least 1,000 by February 2019.
He said the Transition Plan would be driven by the Somali leadership based on its own priorities, adding that the horn of Africa country will also provide forces to occupy territories that AMISOM will vacate.