African Union Mission in Somalia

The outgoing commander of the AMISOM Burundi contingent, Brig Gen. Telesphore Barandereka, has attributed his contingent’s victories over Al-Shabaab to the existing cordial relations with Somali security forces and residents of Hirshabelle State.

Brig Gen. Barandereka completed his one-year tour of duty under AMISOM. He commanded the Burundi troops based in Jowhar, under the AMISOM Sector 5, which oversees security in the Middle Shabelle region.

“It was a good opportunity as an African military officer to contribute to the stability of Somalia, the region, Africa, and global stability because terrorism haunts the entire world,” Brig. Gen. Barandereka said.

He noted that despite the challenges following the COVID-19 outbreak, the Burundian troops serving under AMISOM had played a key role in fulfilling the mission’s mandate. AMISOM Burundi troops operate in 18 forward operating bases (FOBs). They also secure the major population centres of Jowhar, Balcad, Mahaday and Adale along the Indian Ocean coastline north of Mogadishu.

“There are so many challenges that we had to overcome, which tested my command capabilities as I had to try to overcome the challenges. There were particularly climate-related challenges, others related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which raged and affected several activities. However, we tried to adapt to the environment,” he added.

Degrading Al-Shabaab

During his one year of service as Burundi contingent commander, Brig Gen. Barandereka and his troops conducted joint operations with the Somali National Army to degrade Al-Shabaab in Hirshabelle State and liberated key locations from Al-Shabaab control.

“Some of the important operations conducted to degrade Al-Shabaab threat included the operation to liberate Basra, which was an Al-Shabaab stronghold. The operation was carried out in collaboration with Sector One and jointly with the Somali security forces,” said the Brigadier General.

Other achievements included supporting the Somali security forces to secure the elections in Hirshabelle State for the Upper House of the federal Parliament and extending the runway at the Jowhar Airport.

Also, AMISOM Sector 5 has established a Joint Operations Coordination Cell to bolster planning and coordination of joint operations against Al-Shabaab terrorists by AMISOM and Somali security forces.

Brig. Barandereka also urged the people of Somalia to support ongoing efforts by the federal government and international partners to restore peace and stability in the country.

Burundi was the second country to deploy troops under AMISOM after Uganda in December 2007. AMISOM Burundi troops played a key role in the liberation of Mogadishu city and capturing strategic locations such as Gaashandiga, the headquarters of the Ministry of Defence.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Mission in Somalia.

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