Africa: AU Mission Has a New Force Commander

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has a new force commander; Lieutenant General Diomede Ndegeya from Burundi, who arrived in Mogadishu on Sunday to be the overall head of forces from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Lieutenant General Ndegeya is to take over from Lt. Gen. Tigabu Yilma of Ethiopia, whose tour of duty has ended after being Force Commander since January, 2019.

Gen. Ndegeya, was received at the Aden Abdulle International Airport by AMISOM Deputy Force Commander Operations and Plans, Major General Nakibus Lakara; Major Gen. George Owinow, the AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in charge Support and Logistics, and other senior AMISOM military officers.

"I have come to help Africa, to help Somalia, to help our brothers. I have previously been here a number of times, from 2007 to 2012," said Gen. Ndegeya in his brief remarks a few minutes after arrival.

With a career spanning 38 years, Gen. Ndegeya, 57, is no stranger to Somalia, having previously served in Somalia from 2007 to 2009, as a member of the Burundi National Defence Forces AMISOM's pre-deployment team in-charge of supervising and training. In 2012, he was part of a reconnaissance mission to the Bay and Bakool regions of Somalia ahead of AMISOM troop deployment there.

Before his appointment as AMISOM Force Commander, Gen. Ndegeya was the Senior Advisor to the Minister of Defence in Burundi, charged with political and diplomatic affairs, a role he took on after serving four years as a Defence Attaché at the Burundian Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.

A holder of a Master's degree in Technical Sciences, Gen. Ndegeya has vast knowledge in military command and defence strategy obtained from military institutions in Russia, China and France.

He has also published a number of research papers on peacekeeping missions in Africa and professionalization of the Burundi National Defence Forces, among others.

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