Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on Tuesday made a surprise visit to the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
The visit was apparently kept secret and the area surrounding the airport was under tight security, as two members of the Parliament were assassinated in the capital in less than 24 hours.
Upon his arrival, President Nkurunziza met his Somali counterpart Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and discussed issues of common interest to both sides.
He is expected to tour camps of Amisom peacekeepers in Mogadishu and held discussions with mission commanders.
Talking to Journalists, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud described the visit as a major step toward the development of friendly ties between the two nations.
He praised Burundi’s contribution to the peacekeeping efforts in the country.
“It gives me immense pleasure to welcome the President of Burundi to Mogadishu. Burundian troops have been in Somalia since December 2007 and I cannot underplay the contribution they have made to the security and stability of Somalia. We are deeply grateful to Burundi for the sacrifices their soldiers have made to help their Somali brothers.” “In the time that Burundian troops have been in Somalia as part of the AMISOM mission, much has changed” said President Hasan.
The Burundian President expressed optimism about Somalia’s future, and reaffirmed his government commitment to work in partnership with the Somali government to promote peace and security.
“I am delighted to have visited Somalia at a crucial time for the Federal Government in their fight against Al Shabaab and terrorism. Burundi government now has appointed its first Ambassador to Somalia, we also have our troops serving with AMISOM who have been in Somalia since 2007 and the relationship between the two countries is excellent.” Said President Nkurunziza.
Last week, President Nkurunziza appointed a new ambassador to the war torn state in efforts to bolster the cooperation between both sides.
Burundi is part of the African union peacekeepers in Somalia since 2007 and has deployed more than 3,000 troops.