AU condemns attack on Burundi soldiers in Somalia

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African Union (AMISOM) soldiers from Burundi stand to attention in Mogadishu on July 11, 2017. A contingent of Burundian soldiers stationed in Somalia under AMISOM command have taken part in a leaving and handover ceremony. The AMISOM military contingent has been using the National Somali university as its command headquarters since 2007. / AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB (Photo credit should read MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: African Union (AMISOM) soldiers from Burundi stand to attention in Mogadishu. (Photo credit should read MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)

The African Union on Monday strongly condemned an attack that targeted soldiers from Burundi within the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Saturday in Hirshabelle region.

A statement from the African Union said the attack resulted in a number of casualties but no further details of the attack or any fatalities were given.

An unknown number of Burundian peacekeepers were killed on Saturday when a military convoy was ambushed by Al-Shabaab militants on a road connecting Mogadishu and the city of Jowhar, north of Mogadishu, according to security sources.

“The Chairperson salutes the courage of the Burundian peacekeepers who paid the ultimate price in the line of duty to protect and support our Somali brothers and sisters and their national institutions” AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said.

Mahamat conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families and the Burundi government, and wished a quick recovery to the injured peacekeepers.

Mahamat maintained that the AU remained committed to working with the Government of Somalia to further consolidate peace and security in the country.

Last week, Deputy Force Commander Major General Nakibus Lakara visited Jowhar, an area controlled by Burundi troops, to assess progress in operations.

Burundi’s contingent commander Brigadier General Richard Banyakimbona said the soldiers would work on strategies to counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Banyakimbona added that they would collaborate with the Somali National Army and engage in civil-military activities to improve relations with communities in regions that have been freed from Al-Shabaab control.

Burundi is one of five countries contributing soldiers under the AMISOM. The other countries are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

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