Kigali, 09 October 2020
Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has started the Relief in Place Operation for its Aviation Unit deployed under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The ninth contingent of 162 aviation personnel, including pilots, flight engineers, and logisticians will replace their colleagues who have completed their tour of duty under UNMISS.
The first batch of peacekeepers was airlifted from Kigali to Juba, South Sudan at 0600hrs and the same number arrived back home.
While briefing peacekeepers at Kigali International Airport on behalf of RDF leadership, Col Louis Kanobayire, urged the aviation personnel to maintain discipline and focus on the mission mandate.
“Be always guided by the RDF values, have team spirit and safeguard the good image of Rwanda by performing your mission at high standards”, he briefed the outgoing RDF peacekeepers.
The main tasks of the aviation unit include air patrols, reconnaissance and rescue operations, medical evacuation, troops transportation during regular rotations, and airlifting UN workers and their cargo among others.
Rwanda Aviation Unit 8 (RAU) Commander, Lt Col Christophe Semuhungu said that the RAU 8 tour of duty lasted for 14 months instead of twelve due to COVID-19 restrictions in troop rotations.
“In the past 14 months, RAU 8 successfully accomplished the mandated mission with no incident registered,” he said.
Rwanda Aviation Unit has its main base in Juba and a forward base in the northern South Sudanese city of Malakal.
The Rwanda Defence Force maintains three infantry battalions, Rwanda aviation unit with six helicopters serving in UNMISS in the Republic of South Sudan.