Burundi threatens to withdraw peacekeepers from Somalia, CAR

Burundi is threatening to withdraw its peacekeepers from Somalia and the Central African Republic over leadership issues and plans to pay peacekeepers directly, two Burundian ministers have told Burundian lawmakers in a plenary session.
“Burundian soldiers are not given leadership positions at the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Another problem is that there are plans to pay our (Burundian) peacekeepers directly into their accounts in violation of the Memorandum of Understanding stipulating that it is the government that pays them after receiving the money,” Burundian Defense and War Veterans Minister Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye told lawmakers at the National Assembly on Thursday.
According to him, consultations with the African Union (AU), which is a signatory of the Memorandum of Understanding, are underway.
“Before sending troops into Somalia, we discussed with the AU on the Memorandum of Understanding. The withdrawal from the AMISOM also requires prior discussions with the AU, Burundian citizens and the Burundian parliament,” said Ntahomvukiye.
He added that there are plans of paying Burundian peacekeepers directly to their accounts.
“Since the beginning of peacekeeping missions, no troops have been able to get their wages directly from donors. The money goes first to the contributor country and then the country pays its troops. We will not accept a direct payment to Burundian peacekeepers’ accounts,” said Ntahomvukiye.
For his part, Burundian Security Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni told lawmakers that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) is “unfair” with Burundian police officers serving in that mission.

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