Kigali, 31 August 2015
RDF Air Force on 31 August 2015 concluded the relief in place for its personnel deployed in the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). A total of 165 have been relieved by a similar number of Officers, Men and Women of Rwanda Air Force. The last contingents leaving and those coming back were briefed at Kigali International Airport by the Air Force Chief of Staff, Brig Gen Joseph Demali.
The Air Force Chief of Staff, on behalf of the RDF Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Patrick Nyamvumba congratulated the personnel that concluded their term in peacekeeping mission for exemplary work and discipline. He advised the contingent deploying in the mission to be good ambassadors of Rwanda and to be characterized by professionalism and discipline.
The RDF Spokesperson, Brig Gen Joseph Nzabamwita said that Rwanda Aviation Unit, (RAU III) worked tirelessly in UNMISS to help South Sudan during the period of war, protecting civilians in the interest of peace and security. “This Aviation Unit composed of pilots, mechanics and other supporting Staff has done good work. They performed different duties that include humanitarian supply, medical evacuation among others”. He added that RDF is grateful for the job well done, as contained in the message conveyed to the relieved forces, by the Air Force Chief of Staff who represented the Chief of Defence Staff in this function of welcoming them at the airport.
The outgoing Contingent Commander of RAU III handed over the Command to the incoming Contingent Commander, Lt Col Bernard Niyomugabo of RAU-4 at Rwanda Aviation Unit Base in Juba.
Lt Col Louis Kanobayire, the outgoing Contingent Commander said that the Unit Main Operating Base is located in Juba and has the capability of positioning a number of air assets at any temporary forward airbase in the mission area to serve the UNMISS in its entire Area of Responsibility. During the last 12 months, RAU III positioned helicopters in Malakal in Upper Nile State, Wau in Western Bahr El Ghazal State and in Rumbek.
Rwanda maintains 6 helicopters deployed in UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan and this is the 4th Aviation Unit deployed since RDF Air Force first deployed on 27 December 2012.
Rwanda maintains over 5,000 peacekeepers in different UN missions around the world, including Central African Republic, Darfur and South Sudan.