KIGALI - The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) have offered yet another battalion of 800 troops for the new hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping mission in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan.
Rwanda already has close to 2000 military men and officers in region where about 200,000 people have died and another 2.5 million left homeless since 2003. According to the RDF Spokesman Maj. Jill Rutaremara, the new contingent will be airlifted for the mission from October 15 – 26.
“The additional 800-strong battalion will be backed by a heavy support package and will be deployed in Sector One, El Fasher,” Rutaremara said from the RDF headquarters in Kimihurura.
He said that the new battalion will arrive in Sudan ahead of the logistics, adding that the contingent is already prepared.
The airlifting of the new battalion will coincide with the rotation of three RDF battalions that will have completed their mandatory six-months, which starts on September 20 through December 7.
The UN-AU joint mission will be more equipped for the job as opposed to the AU peacekeeping mission, which is now phasing out.
Rutaremara said the first battalion to be rotated is composed of 680 men and officers. They are now stationed in Sector One at El Fasher, Darfur.
The other two battalions of 1076 troops, each with 538 peacekeepers, are deployed in Sector Seven in Zalinje and Sector Four in Kabkabiya.
Rutaremara said the three battalions will be restructured to the standards of the UN peacekeepers during the next rotation.
In June the Sudanese Government accepted the proposal for a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping operation.
Subsequently, Sudanese foreign minister Dr Lam Akol visited Rwanda requesting her to make further troop contribution for the 26, 000-strong force. The hybrid operation is the third phase of a three-step process to replace the ill-equipped AU Mission in the Sudan (AMIS), which has made little impact on the killings of African farmers largely blamed on pro-government militias called Janjaweed.Ends