AMISOM commander visits Burundi troops to assess progress in operations

Jowhar:- The Deputy Force Commander in charge of Operations and Plans at the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Maj. Gen. Nakibus Lakara has said AMISOM troops are forging ahead with clearing and securing various main supply routes, mentoring Somali Security Forces, and conducting joint offensives with the Somali National Army as dictated by the Somali Transition Plan.

On Thursday, Maj. Gen. Lakara was in Jowhar, the headquarters of the AMISOM Sector 5, controlled by Burundi troops, where he assessed progress made in implementing the mission’s Concept of Operations (CONOPs). He also inspected a Forward Operating Base in Gololey and interacted with the troops on issues relating to their welfare.

The CONOPs outlines the activities AMISOM has to implement under the Somali Transition Plan up to 2021, when AMISOM will hand over security responsibilities to the Somali Security Forces.

Among those accompanying Maj Gen. Lakara were Chief Plans Officer, Col. Ben Gah and the Chief Operations Officer Col. John Patrick Otongo.

Maj Gen. Lakara also instructed the commanders to forge ahead implementing the tasks outlined in the Concept of Operations, which include; clearing and securing main supply routes, intensifying mentoring of Somali Security Forces, and conducting joint offensives with the Somali National Army (SNA).

“Opening and securing the Mogadishu-Jowhar-Mahaday-Tayagley main supply route is a priority, and I am happy to note that you have been able to persist in this,” Gen. Lakara stated.

Burundi is one of the five countries contributing troops under AMISOM. Other troop contributing countries are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Maj. Gen. Lakara also urged the Burundian troops to conduct offensive operations, and counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which target AMISOM convoys and civilians along the main supply routes.

“To deal with Al-Shabaab, you must pursue them,” Gen. Lakara noted, before adding, “You must adopt measures to end the use of IEDs along the main supply routes.”

Earlier, Burundi’s contingent commander, Brig. Gen. Richard Banyakimbona, said his troops would work on strategies to counter IEDs and, together with the Somali National Army, engage in civil-military activities to enhance relations with communities in liberated areas.

Brig. Gen. Banyakimbona urged his troops to be steadfast, saying, “We will achieve a lot given that since we first deployed on the mission, we have scored victories against the extremists.”