Somalia's AMISOM Commander Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa of Burundi. The United States and United Nations supported army has over 20,000 troops., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
AMISOM New Force Commander Arrives in Somalia
Nov 29, 2013
The incoming commander of the military section of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa has today (29th November) arrived in the Somali Capital Mogadishu for a familiarization tour.
He arrives to take over office from the Ugandan outgoing Commander Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti who has held the office since May 2012.
Born in 1968, Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa brings vast experience from the Burundian army, in which he has served in different capacities, with the last posting being the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Defense and Former Combatants.
He comes in at a time when the AMISOM force expects a capacity boost following a UN resolution that recently approved growth of the force with an additional 4,400 troops.
The African force has also asked for 12 helicopters from African Union and UN member states, to facilitate quick movement of troops on the ground and also engage in combat missions, which has been a major challenge in the fight against the al Shabaab insurgents.
Speaking shortly after arriving into the country, Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa pledged to ensure the key AMISOM goal of ensuring that peace prevails in Somalia, will be pursued.
“First of all am feeling well, and it is visible that this country needs to recover peace and security. It is also visible that all AMISOM troops are ready to operate in order to help this country to recover peace and security and I hope we will succeed that mission soon as possible,” he said.
He also emphasized the need to empower the Somali institutions to take charge when the AMISOM mandate expires.
“The message for the Somali people is to feel that this country is for Somalis first. Secondly they must know that they have to work together themselves in order to help each other to recover this country because as you know AMISOM are doing well but we have duration on this mission. So after that the Somalis must know that they must work for their own country,” he stressed.
AMISOM began its operations in Somalia in 2007. The force is currently comprised of 5,432 from Burundi, 1000 from Djibouti, 3664 from Kenya, 850 from Sierra Leone and 6223 from Uganda.