African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) troops in Mogadishu. File picture: Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP
Bujumbura – Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced on Friday, during a public program, that the Burundian troops who are in the African peace keeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM, would be withdrawn within one month if their wages were not paid soon.

“If the Burundian troops in Somalia are not paid until January 2017, they will immediately come back to their home country”, said the President before requiring the African Union and European Union to quickly find a solution and pay what he called the “Burundian soldiers rightful due”.

In total, there are more than five thousand troops who have not been paid their allowances for nearly twelve months, funding which is paid by the European Union. The EU had suspended direct aid to Burundi including funds for its peacekeeping contingent in Somalia since March 2016.

During the public program through the National Radio, the Burundian president also threatened to interrupt all relations with Rwanda and Belgium.

“Relations and cooperation with Rwanda and Belgium may be brought to an end if those countries don’t change their attitude vis-a-vis of Burundi”, he pointed out.

Relations between Burundi and the two countries have been deteriorating since Burundi descended back into a new crisis following the decision of President Nkurunziza to bid for a controversial third term.

Bujumbura accused the two countries of being behind nearly all the problems Burundi is currently facing since the crisis broke out in April 2015.

During that program, which is held once a year, President Nkurunziza said he could even try for a fourth term in 2020 if the Burundian people asked him to do it.