BUJUMBURA (Halbeeg News)-The government of Burundi has turned down the African Union (AU) proposal to withdraw 1000 Burundi soldiers late this month.
Dieudonne Ndabarushimana, the Burundi ambassador to Ethiopia on Saturday evening said his government doesn’t support the withdrawal exclusively slotted for the Burundian contingent in Johwar, Hirshabelle State.
The envoy noted that his country is pushing for its 1,000 troops to stay in the mission.
Burundi is requesting that the AMISOM troops be withdrawn on a proportional basis from each of the five troop-contributing countries, as it happened when the first batch of 1,040 troops was withdrawn in December 2017.
Burundi is the second biggest contributor to the 21,500 strong peacekeeping force with 5,400 soldiers, behind Uganda with 6,200 but ahead of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia.
The African Union is gradually scaling back its AMISOM forces as Somalia’s nascent armed forces are trained and deployed to replace them.
AMISOM was first deployed in 2007 to support Somalia’s fragile internationally-backed government and fight al-Shabaab jihadists blamed for scores of bloody attacks.
The African Union request, made through a diplomatic document called a note verbale, came amid recent tension between Burundi and the AU.
The country which is the second country to deploy troops into Somalia dispatched its first soldiers to Somalia in December 2007.
In 2017, the Burundian government threatened to withdraw its troops from Somalia following the failure to pay Burundian peacekeepers’ salaries for 12 months.
AMISOM has more than 22,000 soldiers and police, from six African countries, deployed in Somalia to back the government and fight al-Shabaab fighters.