New AMISOM Commander takes office

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Addis Ababa, 19 December 2013 (WIC) - Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa from Burundi National Defense Forces has taken the command of the military component of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) from Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti of Uganda following a handover ceremony.

The handover ceremony was held in Mogadishu on Monday. During the handover ceremony, Lt General Gutti was recognized for his good service and commitment.
He was lauded for the significant progress made in pushing out the extremist group al-Shabaab during his tenure, which led to the capturing of key strategic positions in South and Central Somalia.

For his part, Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa called for fast implementation of the recent UN resolution 2124 to boost troop numbers and logistical support and said “With this promise of additional support, AMISOM will be able to expand its area of responsibilities to liberate other locations which are currently in the hands of al Shabaab”.

Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa brings vast experience from the Burundian army, in which he has served in different capacities, with the last posting being the Permanent Secretary in the country’s Ministry of National Defense and Former Combatants.

He comes in at a time when the United Nations Security Council approved an additional 4,400 troops for the mission, boosting its number from the current 17,731 to 22,196 and at a time when Ethiopia announced joining AMISOM.

Officials including Somalia's Defence Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi, UN Special Representative to Somalia Nicholas Kay and European Union Ambassador to Somalia Michelle Cervone also attended the ceremony. (MoFA)

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