On a visit to the Great Lakes region, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, who is the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the African Union, paid tribute to Burundian soldiers who died while on service in Somalia.
In the company of former Burundian President Domitien Ndayizeye, who is now a member of the AU advisory panel, he laid a wreath of flowers on one of the graves AU peace battalion, in recognition of Burundi's contribution to this mission.
"We seize this opportunity once again to pay tribute to all the men who have fallen on the battlefield in the search for peace on the continent," said Ambassador Bankole.
At the same time, we take this opportunity to pay tribute to those Burundians who have recently lost in Somalia in the search for peace.
This tribute comes a few weeks after the death of several Burundian soldiers in a terrorist attack on El Baraaf, a base of the AU Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The attack left ten soldiers dead, 25 wounded and 50 terrorists killed according to official sources.
The families of the victims are now deploring compensation which they claim has been delayed. Burundian Minister of National Defense, Alain-Tribert Mutabazi has reassured them of timely payment.
"We would like and hope that this compensation or this indemnity does not delay to come or to be paid on the accounts of the entitled persons," said Alain-Tribert Mutabazi, Burundian Minister of National Defense.
With nearly 5,000 men, Burundi is the second largest contributor of troops to ATMIS, which has nearly 20,000 military, police and civilian personnel from five African countries. ATMIS formally replaced the African peacekeeping force in Somalia (Amisom) with a mandate extended in late March by the United Nations Security Council until the end of 2024 to stabilize the country in the face of the insurgency by the terrorist movement al-Shabab.