Burundian soldiers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] have not been paid for a whole year, the spokesman said on Wednesday.
Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, the Burundi army spokesman, told Sos Médias Burundi their troops currently engaged in the peacekeeping mission in Somalia (Amisom), have spent more than a year without receiving their allowances.
“They did not. However, they will receive them in full. It will be available soon,” Col Baratuza said.
He revealed that only the first instalment of the six months is available to be paid to the soldiers.
“The other half shouldn’t take too long to be paid on the accounts of the soldiers,” he noted.
Colonel Baratuza explained that this delay was due to the blockage of funds that the European Union should have given to the African Union since 2016.
This blockage of funds was motivated by the bad political climate in Burundi.
Last December, President Pierre Nkurunziza had threatened to file a complaint against those who have blocked these allowances, and if need be, repatriate all Burundian soldiers located in Somalia.
Criticism over dismissed soldiers
Meanwhile, the army had dismissed 23 soldiers in one go.
Léonce Ngendakumana, the vice president of Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODÉBU) party described the development as a “sign of an unhealthy climate within the body of defence”.
He said these desertions indicate an extremely serious situation.
“At a time when those who have learned to handle weapons decide to leave the army or to stay where they are on a mission, it is that the situation is extremely serious,” he told Sos Media.
The spokesperson of the president of the republic, Jean Claude Karerwa Ndenzako, said all 23 officers have gone to pursue studies in countries such as Belgium, France or Canada.