BUJUMBURA (AFP) — Burundi has completed its deployment of another 850 soldiers to Somalia, bringing to about 3,400 the total number of African Union peacekeepers stationed in the war-torn country, an army spokesman said Tuesday.
"Burundi had already deployed some 850 soldiers to Somalia as part of AMISOM (African mission in Somalia)," Adolphe Manirakiza told AFP.
"Now it has sent to Mogadishu, between October 11 and 13, a second battalion of 850 soldiers, bringing to 1,700 the number of our (Burundian) soldiers who are helping the Somalis in their quest for peace," he said.
Two Burundian troops were wounded on Sunday when a bomb exploded near Mogadishu airport as the new contingent was being deployed.
Uganda was the first country to contribute troops to AMISOM in March 2007 and Burundi followed in 2008, but the force is still far short of the 8,000 soldiers initially announced by the AU.
AU peacekeepers have struggled to make an impact in Somalia, where they are targeted by Islamist insurgents seeking to regain power from Ethiopian-backed government forces.
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