MOGADISHU, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Burundian contingent under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was equipped with combat vehicles to reinforce ongoing counter-terror operations in Somalia, the AU mission said on Wednesday.
AMISOM said the Burundi government delivered some 20 armored personnel carriers as contingent-owned equipment to its troops serving under AMISOM.
"Our soldiers are valiant and brave however they need protection while fighting. So, these armored personnel carriers will protect them as they fight the enemy," Francisco Madeira, head of AMISOM said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
Madeira said the high rate of wear and tear of equipment due to the harsh operating environment requires AMISOM troop-contributing countries to replace equipment periodically to ensure the efficiency of operations.
Burundian troops alongside other forces from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, are deployed in Somalia under a UN Security Council mandate to support the Somali security forces to defeat terrorist groups.
Madeira who inspected the new equipment in Mogadishu noted that the military hardware would boost the AU mission's capacity to combat terrorism while ensuring the safety of the soldiers. "They are force enablers and force multipliers, no doubt, and I thank the Burundi President for providing this essential equipment," he added.
Richard Banyankimbona, AMISOM Burundi contingent commander, said the carriers would enhance his troops' movement, protection of civilians, UN and AMISOM personnel.
The Burundian troops under AMISOM secure the Middle Shabelle region. "We are deploying them to support the implementation of AMISOM mandate," Banyankimbona added.