On October 10, AU decided to delay the placement of Burundian contingents deployed in the African Union peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) expected in November 2016. The spokesman of the Burundian army colonel Gaspard Baratuza denies this information. “Contrary to what is said, AU has not suspended the rotation of the AMISOM Burundian contingent,” he says.
According to him, the original message has been distorted for other aims. “AU has only postponed the visit of a commission that would go to Somalia to prepare for the deployment of the rotation of the 40th, 41st and 42nd battalions of AMISOM Burundian contingent. The visit was postponed to a date to be specified in due course”, he says.
He explains that in the memorandum of understanding between Burundi and AU in relation to AMISOM, it was agreed that the battalions deployed in peacekeeping mission are replaced after a year. “But since 2007, there are external conditions that make the mission take longer than expected. Soldiers are used to that. And it is not only for the Burundian contingent, this happens even for other troops-providing countries”, indicates Baratuza.
As to the question whether EU, the biggest AMISOM funder, seeks to no longer channel funds for the Burundian troops to the coffers of the state, Colonel Baratuza says there is no memorandum of understanding between Burundi and EU in terms of AMISOM Burundian contingent. “The agreement was signed with the AU, if there are some adjustments, it is for both parties to see what should be done”, says the spokesman of the Burundian army.