Burundi, US forces enhance regional security for Somalia
By 1st Lt. Madia Kalic, Marine Corps Forces Africa
The Burundi National Defense Force are preparing their soldiers for deployment to Somalia with the help of U.S. Marines and Sailors from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa.
“The benefit of our training engagement is building partnerships and capacity with Burundi and the African Union Mission to Somalia,” said Major Luke Sauber, the officer-in-charge of the Marines and Sailors that trained with the BNDF. “By working alongside the BNDF and sharing our knowledge and practices, we are supporting Burundi and the AMISOM in their fight against Al-Shabaab.”
The team of U.S. Marines and Sailors partnered with more than 160 Burundian Soldiers where they advised and trained with the BNDF in logistics and engineering disciplines for approximately 3-months from October through December.
“Our company is better positioned to continue preparation for deployment,” said the 7th Sapper Company Commander of the BNDF. “We appreciate the knowledge, professionalism, and camaraderie of the Marine security cooperation team.”
Theater security cooperation engagements like this one assist partner nations in addressing security challenges and enhance overall regional security through military-to-military engagements.
“Engagements like these benefit all participants,” said Sauber.
“They not only create opportunities for partner militaries to increase interoperability, but they also help shape an environment that will promote regional stability and overall prosperity.”
The African Union Mission in Somalia is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations. Burundi has the second largest contingent within AMISOM with 5,432 troops. The country was also the second to deploy troops into Somalia, with its first soldiers arriving in Mogadishu in December 2007, according to the official AMISOM website.