US funding cuts to Burundi military affects AMISOM Operations in Somalia

Major General Niyombare, Coup Leader in Burundi

Major General Niyombare, attempted Coup Leader in Burundi

The African Union Mission to Somalia might have to work without the support of their second largest contingent of soldiers after the African Union and the United States proposed a cut in funding to the Burundian soldiers fighting in Somalia.

The 5,432 soldiers will await a go-ahead from the African Union which has decided to delay the deployment of a fresh contingent of soldiers and the United States that has cut military funding to Burundi to agree on a road map on how to work with the Burundi forces in Somalia.

The Burundi contingent in Somalia is actively engaged in safeguarding sector three that covers the area of Baidoa and also providing backup support for sector 1 where Ugandan forces operate from that includes the capital Mogadishu.

In a statement on their website, the US Department of Defense says it will cut military funding to Burundi until the country’s army has steered clear of ‘human rights violations’ allegations that have arisen out of their efforts to combat a coup d’etat that had earlier been declared by Major General Godefroid Niyombare.

“The United States also stresses that, under U.S. law, we cannot provide military training or assistance to military units that commit gross violations of human rights. We support the recent decision by the African Union to delay the next deployment of Burundian troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia” the statement reads.

The withdrawal of funding to the Burundi contingent will have a direct impact on the working of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in Somalia who have relied on the country’s army to provide backup support in missions.   Burundi has been the scene of riots, protests, fights, a coup d’etat in the space of 72 hours.

It is within this time that the US government says that the Burundian army teamed up with the Imbonerakure militia to rein in suspected coup leaders and protesters against Nkurunziza’s third term

“The United States is alarmed by reports of retaliatory attacks in Burundi following the attempted unlawful seizure of power on May 13 and the growing risk of greater violence and atrocities. The United States urgently calls on President Nkurunziza to condemn and stop the use of violence by the police and the ruling party’s Imbonerakure youth militias against those who participated in protests against a third term,” the statement goes on