Kigali, 5 July 2018
As Rwanda celebrates 24 years of liberation struggle, members of Rwanda Defence Force, Rwanda National Police serving in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in Central African Republic, South Sudan and Sudan were also joined by Rwandan diaspora, UN Staff, Government Officials and local population to mark the 24th Anniversary of National Liberation Day in their host nations. In Darfur (UNAMID) the celebrations coincided with UN Award of medals to Rwandan peacekeepers (Rwanbatt52, Staff Officers, Military Observers and Rwanda National Police serving in UNAMID).
Rwandan peacekeepers serving under the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Central Africa Republic (MINUSCA) on 4 July, were joined by the Central African Republic Right Hon Prime Minister Simplice Mathieu Sarandji, Head of MINUSCA Parfait Onanga-Ayanga, members of the diaspora in Central African Republic (CAR) and friends of Rwanda to celebrate the 24th Anniversary of National Liberation Day. The colourful event was held at Rwanda battalion’s Camp Socatel M’Poko in Bangui City.
In his speech, the CAR Prime Minister appreciated the leadership of HE Paul Kagame the President of the Republic of Rwanda, his efforts to restore peace, security and social-economic development of Rwandans. He further thanked the Government of Rwanda for supporting the people of CAR. “We hope also to overcome this insecurity”, he noted before adding that Rwandans’ commitment and post conflict recovery comes from their history of resilience.
In his remarks, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Hon Pafait Onyanga Onanga said that “On behalf of UN Secretary General and on my own behalf, we appreciate the Rwandan contribution and commitment to UN peacekeeping operations especially in Central African Republic. Rwandan performance comes from the visionary leadership of HE Paul Kagame, the current Chair of African Union.
On behalf the Rwandan Community in CAR, Col Dr Osée Karangwa in his remarks reflected on Rwanda Liberation historical background, its regrettable tragedy marked by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi where less than 100 days one million Rwandan Tutsi were brutally slaughtered and the rebuilding of the nation with an aim to recover and prosper as a nation in dignity.
Rwandan peacekeepers in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), together with Rwandan Diaspora, Ambassadors from different countries, UNMISS members, dignitaries from the Government of South Sudan also celebrated the 24th anniversary of the National Liberation Day in JUBA.
Hon Brig Gen Francis Latio Michael, the Deputy Governor of Jubek state who was the Guest of honor congratulated Rwandans and delivered a message of solidarity, “As Rwanda celebrates the 24th anniversary of liberation, let me, on behalf of the Governor of Jubek and the entire South Sudan family express our congratulations and solidarity with the Rwandan People. I salute HE President Paul Kagame for liberating Rwanda but also for his tireless efforts to develop Rwanda. We have appreciated what Rwandans are doing. Rwanda is a role model in Africa”, He said.
The representative of Rwandan Community in South Sudan, SAFARI Jumapili gave welcome remarks and thanked those friends from around the world who joined Rwandans in celebrating the 24th Liberation Day. “It is a sign of solidarity. On this day we pay tribute to Rwandan men and women who in different ways contributed to our country’s liberation, the fallen heroes who paid the ultimate price during the liberation struggle”. Quoting HE Kagame, He said that “After the genocide Rwandans made three important choices – to stay together, to be accountable and to think big.”
Rwandan peacekeepers in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Malakal together with UNMISS members, dignitaries from the Government of South Sudan celebrated the 24th anniversary of the National Liberation Day on 6 July 2018. The colorful ceremony graced by Hon. Governor of central upper Nile state James TOR MONY BOUNG, UNMISS Head of field madam Hazel Dawet, the Chief of Staff Sector North, Contingent Commanders, Government officials, Humanitarian agencies and Internally Displaced Persons Representatives.
The Rwandan battalion Commander (Rwanbatt2 CONTICO) Col Alex MASUMBUKU welcomed the invited guests at the Liberation of Rwanda celebration day, and briefed the attendants about Liberation Day. In his remarks, he pointed out how Rwandans in exile for over 30 years fought for survival of our nation. It required anonymous sacrifice which contributed to liberation of our country on 04th Jul 1994 by overthrowing the genocidal and dictatorial regime. The CONTICO also expressed how Rwanda is now a model of good governance.
The UNMISS head of field office (HOFO) Sector north madam Hazel DEWET thanked the Rwandans for their efforts to overcome unsurmountable challenges. She pointed out that Rwandans have defined their past and now have a choice to be accountable. She said that though over one million people were slaughtered in a broad day light, Rwanda has had efforts to overcome the challenges.
She concluded by congratulating the Rwandan Defence Force for its professionalism in peacekeeping and support operations in prevention of conflicts, “your Army stands professional, command and control in the peacekeeping operations continentaly and globally”.
In Darfur, El Fasher, the 24th National Liberation Day celebrations in the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) coincided with UN Award of medals to Rwandan peacekeepers (Rwanbatt52, Staff Officers, Military Observers and Rwanda National Police serving in UNAMID).
The UNAMID Force Commander, Lt Gen Leonard Muriuki Ngondi, recognized the 04th July as the date on which the Genocide against The TUTSI was stopped and Rwanda was really liberated. He added that “It is therefore much fitting to decorate you Rwandan Peacekeepers with UNAMID Medals on the day of your national liberation; on one hand an honor for the hard work you have done during your mandated tasks and on the other hand to congratulate you for the struggle you carried out to liberate Rwanda”, he said.
The Force Commander continued “this force paid the ultimate sacrifice in line of duty for the cause of peace and security the country enjoys today. Their priceless sacrifice which we continue to witness even here in Darfur is not only a pride to Rwandans but also to the friends of Rwanda; UNAMID inclusive. Special thanks to you all and particular to RWANBATT 52, Rwanda National Police, and other staff officers who have at the same time received the prestigious medals today”, he concluded.
In all three Peacekeeping Missions, the 24th Liberation celebration was also marked by Rwandan traditional dance, and speeches focusing on the liberation struggle of Rwanda.