Kigali, 15 January 2019
Rwanda Defence Force continues rotation of 53 Infantry Battalion (Rwanbatt51) with 7 Infantry Battalion (Rwanbatt53) deployed in the African Union-United Nation Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
The first batch of 133 officers and men of Rwandan Battalion 53 (RwanBatt53) were airlifted on 15 January 2019 aboard RwandAir from Kigali to El Fasher-Darfur (Sudan). Rwanbatt53 is led by Col Edgar Safari Mugabe who left for Darfur with the first batch.
The deployment will run one year from the date of departure where a total of 800 troops will conduct all tasks in peacekeeping operations.
Rwanbatt51 in collaboration with other components conducted operations all aimed at achieving protection of civilians (PoC) mandate like humanitarian assistance (HA) escorts, standing convoys, base camps security operations, Crop protection, confidence building patrols (CBPs), among others.
Lt Gen Jacques Musemakweli, the Army Chief of Staff (ACOS) who briefed them before their departure, urged them to maintain high discipline and be “a shining star” towards citizens they are serving. “You are all aware that RDF success relies on discipline, be focused on your mission and keep your discipline very high bearing in mind that you are representing Rwanda”, he briefed the peacekeepers at Kami Military Barracks.
“Peacekeeping mission is a clear way of getting experience in your daily work. If one individual commits a mistake, it will completely tarnish the entire force. Keep yourselves away from any mistake.” Lt Gen Musemakweli added.
The first batch of Rwanbatt51 returning from Darfur arrived at Kigali International Airport around 1300 Hrs aboard RwandAir.
On behalf of the RDF Chief of Defence Staff, Brig Gen Johnson Hodari welcomed the peacekeepers at Kigali International Airport. He congratulated them for their dedication and discipline during their tour of duty in the UNAMID and called upon them to uphold that discipline at home as well.
Rwanda Peacekeepers in UNAMID keep security in different parts of Darfur, and this deployment will be operating in Zalingie and Nertiti.
Rwanda is currently the second biggest UN Troop and Police Contributing Country serving in International Peacekeeping around the world. From 2004 Rwanda has been contributing in peace support operations in Darfur, where the situation is getting better by now; this is the main reason UN is downsizing and reconfigurating its troops in Darfur.