Published On: Sun, Mar 12th, 2017

Burundi soldier repatriated from Somalia for driving alone in Mogadishu

Caporal-Chief Niyonkuru Leon was repatriated from the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia on 9 March. He is accused of driving alone in the Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia.

“The troop contributing country, even the international community, doesn’t tolerate this due to the insecurity prevailing there”, says Gaspard Baratuza, army spokesperson.

On his arrival at Bujumbura International airport, Niyonkuru was taken to the military police department for investigation. “He is under investigation to know the motives of his misconduct. He knew that it is strictly forbidden to travel around the Mogadishu alone”, says Colonel Baratuza.

The spokesperson of the Burundian army says that sanctions will be applied according to the law.

Since Burundi plunged into crisis in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial term, more than 500 people have died in confrontations and over 300,000 have fled, reports say. Soldiers are not immune. Since April 2015, 53 soldiers have been killed, 10 abducted, 10 tortured, 26 wounded and 48 others arbitrarily detained, local NGOs reports say. While some troops have been repatriated from the peacekeeping mission, others prefer not to return home fearing the ongoing repression. Local human rights NGOs report that over 100 troops are on a list to be targeted for arrest when they come back home.

Burundi began contributing to the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia in 2008 with 850, and it currently contributes 5400 troops. The government attempted to withdraw its troops in January 2017 because it claimed the soldiers had not been paid for over ten months Fortunately, Burundi and the AU ended the dispute and Burundi’s withdrawal from Somalia was cancelled.

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