SOMALIA: Burundi president wont abandon somalia mission

Published: June 6, 2011

BURUNDI’S president, Pierre Nkurunziza, has said that his country will not abandon the liberation mission in Somalia but warned that unsteady facilitation and inadequacy of troops could undermine recent gains.
Uganda and Burundi forces constitute the 9,000-strong Africa peacekeeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM, backed by the United Nations to restore peace and stability in the anarchical horn of African country.
AMISOM which is defending the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is facing resistance from extremists and militants opposed to the interim government.
“I wish to reaffirm our commitment to stabilising Somalia by keeping and increasing our forces in Somalia,” Nkurunziza said.
“The return of peace and stability to Somalia is a challenge we must win at all costs,” he added.
The Burundian president was closing the 19th International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala on Friday. President Yoweri Museveni, while opening the meeting on Thursday, warned that Uganda could pull out if a disruptive process (electioneering) was engaged in Somalia.
The Burundi president paid glowing tribute to the soldiers that have lost their lives in the battle field in Mogadishu and asked delegates to observe a moment of silence out of respect for their souls.
“The results of the work of AMISOM are remarkable but the challenges are equally immense,” he commented.
Nkurunziza pointed out that the peacekeeping mission in Somalia is the most difficult one and is compounded by piracy which funds the militants.
The President noted that it was clear to everyone that the security situation in Somalia remained volatile despite AMISOM’s gains. In the past month the TFG and forces loyal to it, backed by AMISOM have routed Al Shabaab militants from most of Mogadishu.
Now, Uganda and Burundi want this momentum to be harnessed with, more troop deployment, ammunition and facilitation.
“It’s disheartening to hear that the AMISOM force is lacking ammunition. The UN should know that it has a duty to protect the Somali people,” the Burundi president said.
“The return to peace is the ultimate goal. AU member states should be ready to get more engaged,” he appealed.
Nkurunziza expressed concern that political squabbles risked derailing the achievements of AMISOM and pushed for an extension of the TFG for one year in which period militants would be on the brink of defeat.
Nkurunziza urged humanitarian agencies to extend aid to areas liberated from rebels to end the deplorable conditions in which women and children are. This, Nkurunziza said, will make the community disassociate itself from the Al Shabaab and provide support to the TFIs.
The president of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, hailed Uganda and Burundi for what he termed “a commendable job”.
Source: Sunday Vision

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