Burundi shows that African armies join peacekeeping in Somalia not out of pan-African brotherhood but to collect EU money
Burundi has threatened to sue the African Union (AU) over failure to pay its peacekeeping troops in Somalia.
(Africa News) — Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza announced on Friday, during a public program, that the Burundian troops who are in the African peace keeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM, would be withdrawn within one month if their wages were not paid soon.
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“If the Burundian troops in Somalia are not paid until January 2017, they will immediately come back to their home country”, said the President before requiring the African Union and European Union to quickly find a solution and pay what he called the “Burundian soldiers rightful due”.
In total, there are more than five thousand troops who have not been paid their allowances for nearly 12 months, funding which is paid by the European Union.
The EU had suspended direct aid to Burundi including funds for its peacekeeping contingent in Somalia since March 2016.
During the public program through the National Radio, the Burundian president also threatened to interrupt all relations with Rwanda and Belgium.
“Relations and cooperation with Rwanda and Belgium may be brought to an end if those countries don’t change their attitude vis-a-vis of Burundi”, he pointed out.
Relations between Burundi and the two countries have been deteriorating since Burundi descended back into a new crisis following the decision of President Nkurunziza to bid for a controversial third term.
Burundi has faced widespread international criticism over the deadly political turmoil that followed Nkurunziza’s pursuit of a third term last year, which many in the country called unconstitutional. Hundreds have been killed.
Burundi is scheduled to rotate three battalions of soldiers into Somalia in January, military spokesman Col. Gaspard Baratuza said in a statement earlier this week.