By NJ Mogadishu Correspondent
The Burundian government calls to pull out its troops from African Union forces fighting Alshabaab in Somalia over nonpayment of its forces following EU’s decision to reduce its funding for AMISOM forces.
Burundian Defense Minister, Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye told Burundian lawmakers in a plenary session on Thursday that the forces had not received their monthly allowance which was supposed to be paid by European Union.
He said Burundian soldiers have not been given leadership positions at the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) that is why Burundian forces are not considered for basic maintenance such as allowance on time among other necessities.
Ntahomvukiye said that there are plans of paying Burundian peacekeepers directly to their accounts violating a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Burundian government, AU and donor agency which stipulates that it is the government that pays the soldiers after receiving the money.
He however noted that over $800 arrears for 10 months allowance per soldier is not paid to Burundian forces, leaving them to receive only their certain low army wages.
The minister told the lawmakers that since the government started its peacekeeping missions to Somalia, it soldiers never received their wages directly from the donors because the money first goes to the contributor country and then the country pays its forces.
“Consultations with the African Union (AU) and donor agency which are signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding are underway, but as a country we will not accept underway plans to pay our Burundian troops wages directly to their accounts,” said Ntahomvukiye.
Burundi which is the second largest contributor to AMISOM for the AU intervention force to contain Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia with over 5400 troops has played a great role in the mission after Uganda who has over 6000 troops to the total 22000 strong forces of AMISOM.
Over 50 Burundian soldiers were killed last year after Al-Shabaab militants waged an attack to a base manned by some 100 Burundian contingents in Lego village.