Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is expected to arrive in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura today Monday.
Burundi’s presidency said in a note to ChimpReports that Abdullahi will “carry out an official visit to Burundi, where he will meet with his counterpart President Pierre Nkurunziza.”
The presidency didn’t disclose the agenda of the two leaders’ meeting.
However, the trip comes at a time Burundi is protesting a directive by the African Union’s Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) that the withdrawal of a further 1,000 troops of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) come exclusively from the Burundian contingent in Johwar, Hirshabelle State, also known as Sector 5.
Burundi maintains Amisom troops should be withdrawn on proportional basis from each of the five troop-contributing countries, as it happened when the first batch of 1,040 troops was withdrawn in December 2017.
Last year, Burundi army spokesman Biyereke Floribert argued that the decision to withdraw Burundian troops did not conform with the co-ordination committee of operations in Somalia which states that “the troops will be withdrawn from all the peacekeeping contributing countries. The Burundian army demands a competent authority to ensure that this decision is reconsidered.”
The Burundi contingent is the second largest within AMISOM with about 5,000troops.
The country was also the second to deploy troops into Somalia, its first soldiers having arrived in Mogadishu in December 2007 after Uganda.
Burundi has so far sent six battle groups in Somalia and has provided three Deputy Force Commanders.
The Burundian troops in Amisom remain a big source of foreign currency for the country with the government receiving $18 million from the AU quarterly, as compensation for the soldiers.
Each Amisom soldier receives $1,028 per month. $200 is deducted by the soldiers’ respective governments to meet administrative costs.