RDF successful in Darfur- Col. Murari

Lt. Gen. Ceasar Kayizari (R) welcomes the peacekeepers led by Col. Chris Murari yesterday. (Photo F. Goodman )

KIGALI - The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) has registered a number of success stories in its United Nations-African Union Peacekeeping mission in Darfur since its first deployment in 2004.

This was revealed by Col. Chris Murari, the contingent commander of four Rwandan battalions deployed in the Sudanese war-torn region of Darfur.

Murari completed his mission as contingent commander and has been replaced by Col. Emmanuel Karemera.

“The RDF peacekeepers are hard working and have always been relied on in several activities. It is evident that wherever we have been working in our areas of operation, we have been working very well in support of the UNAMID,” said Murari.

Pointing out some of the key progress registered by his force, Murari said: “Sudan was able to carry out democratic elections, we are happy to have been associated with the system that supported the peaceful elections”.

“There have been peace talks in Doha, and through our being there we were able to ensure peaceful and smooth flow of the talks.”

He praised the force for being robust and vigilant throughout their stay in Darfur and added on that local people of Darfur are happy with the contribution of the Rwandan peacekeepers.

RDF Spokesman, Lt Col Jill Rutaremara, said that the rotation of four Rwandan battalions in Darfur had reached half way and was progressing efficiently.

Speaking to The New Times at Kigali International Airport during the rotation process, Rutaremara said that the last batch of 37th battalion led by Lt Col Deo Rusanganwa, had left for Zam Zam replacing the 73rd Battalion under the command of Col. Murari who also doubled as the contingent commander.

“So far, we are half way  through the rotations since two battalions have now left, replacing others. There are two other battalions still in Rwanda that will also rotate with others in Darfur soon,” said Rutaremara.

He added that each battalion rotates after nine months and added that so far, Rwanda maintains a 3,556 force in Darfur including military observers and staff officers.

He also pointed out that the rotation will be followed by another of 254 officers operating under the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) which will start some time early next month.

Rutaremara hastened to point out that Rwandair, the national carrier, won the United Nations tender to transport the peacekeepers. The United Nations Peace Keeping Mission signed an agreement with Rwandair early this year to transport the Rwandan troops to and from Darfur.

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