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RDF continues alternating its peacekeepers in South Sudan

Kigali, 11 March 2019

Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has started rotation for 67 Inf Bn that replaces 63 Mech Inf Bn (Rwanbatt3-RPF - Regional Protection Force) deployed in the capital city of South Sudan (Juba) under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Lead by Lt Col Vincent Mugisha, the first batch of 230 peacekeepers departed early this Monday 11 March at Kanombe International Airport to Juba on the continued peacekeeping mission in the Africa’s newly independent state of South Sudan.

The mission was set up in 2012 by the UN Security Council to help consolidate peace security in the world’s youngest state.

The RDF Army Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Jacques Musemakweli told the peacekeepers that their mission is to keep peace but also to respect the UN standard of conduct, the regulations that guide the conduct of UN peacekeepers in mission.

“We have chosen you as the personnel who are going to do the best of your work. You have completed courses and deployments. Therefore, we know that you are going to keep peace in South Sudan as required,” said Lt Gen Musemakweli.

However, he advised them to maintain discipline as they go away with the temptations of abuse of power. He highlighted some of the misconduct that are against the UN principles on peacekeeping mission including sexual exploitation and abuse on the host citizens.

“We will not accept indiscipline within the RDF. You have worked and well served the nation, so go and do so examplarily in South Sudan,” he added.

Speaking to the RDF peacekeepers (Rwanbatt 67) at Kigali International Airport, Brig Gen Jean Bosco Rutikanga, Bde Commander 204, told them that South Sudan has been devastated by the conflicts and harsh environment. Therefore, they should be careful on how to address those challenges.

RDF has earned itself respect and won accolades for its discipline and professionalism in South Sudan since its deployment back in 2004.

The 63 Mech Inf Bn (Rwanbatt3-Regional Protection Force (RPF)); a mechanized infantry formed battalion has protected civilians but also supported several operational activities, training and camp construction in order to facilitate mission mandate achievement.

Some of the peace process activities that the peacekeepers were involved in include the construction of camps and infrastructure where Rwanbatt3 constructed Dupuri camp, a new place for UNMISS that accommodated contingents and other initial infrastructure at their initial deployment at the beginning of November 2017.  They have left the camp availed with adequate infrastructure that would support a Battalion of soldiers to operate.