The United Nations has hailed Rwanda’s peacekeeping mission in Darfur and expressed gratitude for the high level commitment the country has exhibited in peacekeeping.
The Deputy UN Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro, expressed gratitude for the commitment and professionalism Rwanda has exhibited in its peacekeeping mission in the war torn Durfur region in Sudan.
In a message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he noted that the tragedies that have befallen United Nations peacekeepers this year are a sobering reminder of the risks entailed in their important work for peace.
“As we mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, we pay tribute to the more than 120,000 military, police and civilians serving worldwide under the blue flag and remember those who lost their lives in the cause of peace,” he said.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 to pay tribute to all men and women serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.
Celebrated every May 29 and established by the General Assembly in 2002, the day is also aimed at remembering those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
The high profile ceremony saw 73 peacekeepers, including five Rwandans who lost their lives while serving with the United Nations between 1 March and 31 December 2010 posthumously receive the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal.
The fallen Rwandan peacekeepers who received the Dag Hammarskjöld Medals include: S/Sgt Felicien Ntibajyinama, Sgt Valence Musabyimana, Cpl Kabango Sadiki, Pte Joseph Ntawumenyumusi and rtd/Police Officer Kapaya.
26 Other peacekeepers who died between January 1 and April 10 2011 were also recognized at the ceremony. The peacekeepers according to UN died as a result of hostile acts, accidents and disease
The Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN, Ambassador Eugene Gasana and the Military Attaché, Lt Col Vincent Nyakarundi, attended the ceremony.
The RDF spokesperson, Lt. Col Jill Rutaremara welcomed the UN recognition and added that Rwanda is a significant player in the Darfur peace mission. “The RDF is proud to be part of the forces that are contributing to regional and international peace and security,” he told this paper yesterday.
Rutaremara also said that the fallen comrades have not only been honoured by UN but also by their country. “The comrades who lost their lives in the mission area did so while fulfilling one of the constitutional tasks of the RDF,” he said.
Rwanda started its peace mission in the troubled civil war ravaged Darfur region in 2004 and has since registered tremendous success.