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Burundi troops ready to join Somalia peacekeepers


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

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Burundian troops waiting to join an African peacekeeping force in Somalia are unfazed by recent fighting there and are ready to take on the insurgents, an army spokesperson said yesterday.

About 20 people were killed in Mogadishu last week in the Somali capital's worst bloodshed since a war over the New Year to oust militant Islamists.

Colonel Adolphe Manirakiza gave no date for Burundi's deployment in the Horn of Africa nation. But he said his soldiers were well prepared by memories of Burundi's civil war. "We have experienced the same situation of guerrilla war over years, where government troops were regularly attacked by rebels hidden in houses of the civil population."

"Frankly speaking, there is nothing to worry about. Our troops are ready to go to Somalia and accomplish their mission."

Last week's upsurge in violence, which saw some dead troops dragged through the streets and burnt, came after the Somali government launched a campaign to disarm parts of Mogadishu. "We have seen worse scenes than that," Manirakiza said. "I do not think this can frighten our soldiers at all."

He said the troops being sent to Burundi were being given intensive extra training, which would be complete within days.

Burundi has pledged 1 700 troops to help stabilise Somalia. Some 1 200 Ugandans troops are already in Mogadishu

Source: Reuters, Mar 28, 2007



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