The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will fly the AU flag at half-mast at the mission headquarters in Mogadishu, the sectors and all bases across Somalia in honor of Burundian President, Pierre Nkurunziza, who died early this week.
Delivering AMISOM’s condolence message on Friday in Mogadishu at an event to honour the memory of President Nkurunziza, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, said the late president had worked tirelessly with the African Union to bring peace and security to Somalia.
“Like many leaders of the countries that contribute both human and material resources to the stabilization of Somalia, the late president believed in the ideals of a reconciled, secure, and prosperous Somalia. Today is an incredibly sad day for all of us in AMISOM. The mission to achieve a peaceful Somalia will miss the late president Nkurunziza’s guidance and leadership,” Ambassador Madeira said.
While mourning his untimely loss, Ambassador Madeira said that the mission is comforted in knowing that the fierce spirit, unwavering dedication, and professionalism that President Nkurunziza instilled in the Burundi contingent will ensure that Nkurunziza’s ideals for a violent-free Somalia shall continue to prosper and prevail.
Across the mission at AMISOM Force Headquarters, Major General James Nakibus Lakara, AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in charge of Operations and Plans, took part in a ceremony for the military, where he led AMISOM troops in remembrance, prayers and the signing of a book of condolences for late President Nkurunziza.
“On behalf of the military component of AMISOM, we join the people of Burundi and the family of the late president in mourning the passing on of the president. His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza was a major stakeholder in ensuring that the African Union deploys to Somalia. The relative peace that Somalia enjoys is in part attributed to the efforts of the late president,” Major General Lakara said.
Speaking at the same memorial ceremony, Burundi’s AMISOM Military Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Kabisa Domitien, said the troops had received the news of the president’s passing with shock and sadness.
“We got a sad message that our Head of State passed on from a heart attack. It was a sad moment for the troops deployed here in Somalia. Despite that sad occurrence, the morale of our troops is still high; they are still determined and committed to achieving the AMISOM tasks, and they are able. I would also like to thank the AMISOM leadership and our colleagues for their compassion towards us in this difficult time of the passing of our head of state,” he said
Burundi was the second country to respond to the call by the African Union to send
troops to Somalia after Uganda. Burundi joined AMISOM in December 2007 and, together with troops from Uganda, played a significant role in the liberation of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia in 2011.
As one of the largest troop-contributing countries to the mission, Burundi has been instrumental in the protection of population centers especially in HirShabelle State and clearing the Jowhar-Mogadishu main supply route to enable free movement of people and vehicles delivering goods, including humanitarian aid.
In addition to directing that all sectors hold memorial services for President Nkurunziza, Ambassador Madeira has also ordered that the AU flag at the mission’s headquarters in Mogadishu, in all sectors and bases across Somalia flies at half-mast until midnight on Tuesday, June 16th.