Burundi Calls For Urgent AU Meeting Over Amisom Withdrawal From Somalia

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Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has called for the African Union (AU) to urgently convene following a decision by the AU Mission in Somalia (Amisom) to withdraw its soldiers from Somalia.

Nkurunziza said he wanted this decision reviewed following a closed-door meeting with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” at State House Bujumbura on Tuesday, the East African reported.

Farmajo, accompanied by a delegation that included his minister of defence and the Somalia National Army (SNA) chief of staff, was in Burundi for a two-day state visit.

“There is a decision which was taken by the peace and security council of the AU which we Burundians didn’t welcome and we know Somalia wasn’t pleased with it. That’s why we have called for an urgent summit so the decision can be reconsidered,” Nkurunziza said during a press briefing.

The AU’s Peace Support Operations Division last December said it planned a further reduction in Amisom troops in Somalia by withdrawing 1,000 soldiers from the Burundian contingent.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) stated in 2017 that it planned to significantly reduce the number of peacekeepers in Somalia by the end of February – a decision opposed by Burundi.

The Somali government is also uncomfortable with the planned phased drawdown arguing that its army was not ready to take charge of the country’s security.

“Burundi soldiers in Somalia have made the ultimate sacrifice and I assure the people of Burundi your soldiers’ sacrifice will not go in vain,” said Farmajo.Bujumbura asserts that since its election to the African Union Peace and Security Council on February 14, its troops should stay in Amisom.

Burundian troops in Amisom are a source of hard currency for the country, with government receiving $18 million from the AU quarterly, as compensation for the soldiers.

African News Agency

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