Burundian troops from the 32nd and 33rd battalions are returning home after a year in Somalia, serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The first batch of 1,891 officers left Somalia for home on last Thursday and others will leave the country in the course of this week.
“Our relationship with the Somali National Army has been good because we shared information about the enemy – Al-Shabaab. Also, during reconnaissance patrols, we were together. And it was the Somali National Army helping us because of the language barrier. It was them who told us the names of the localities, helped us with information and taught us how to communicate with the Somali populations,” said the commander of the 32nd Battalion Major John Manirakiza.
Major Richard Nikoyagize, the commander of the 33rd Battalion attributed the success of the Burundian troops to high discipline and a good working relationship with the Somali National Army.
Burundi is one of the troop-contributing countries to AMISOM, mandated to support the Federal Government of Somalia in defeating the militant group Al-Shabaab. Other troop contributing countries are Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.
The Burundi National Defence Forces are responsible for keeping security in Sector 5, which comprises areas such as El Baraf, Mahaaday, Balcad, Helman, Walshiq and Quorolow. The troops are also present in sector Kismayo as part of a multinational military deployment.
The troops participated in various projects in liberated areas, including providing medical services and safe drinking water to vulnerable communities.