The US army is carrying on with training of Rwandan troops set for deployment in Darfur as part of the United Nations/African Union Hybrid Mission (UNAMID) peace support operations.
This was highlighted in a brief from the American Embassy in Kigali, written by US Navy Commander, William “Mitch” Darling, the Mission Commander for the Africa Contingency Training and Assistance (ACOTA) mission in Rwanda.
Army spokesperson, Maj. Jill Rutaremara, confirmed the development, saying that the US officers in Gako military camp usually first train a group of Rwandan army officers before carrying on with a whole battalion.
“The training is in progress and they are now training a battalion in the normal routine preparations for the next rotation exercise,” said Maj. Rutaremara.
ACOTA is a US program to train military trainers and equip African national armies to conduct peace support operations and humanitarian relief under the auspices of the Africa Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), or regional security organizations.
In the US Embassy brief, Darling notes that the training is one of several bilateral mentoring engagements that have taken place over the past years in “the very successful” ACOTA Program.
“The participants will use computer-aided tools during the command post exercise to augment their training. This will be the first time this type of training has been used by some of the participating officers,” reads part of Darling’s brief.
RDF forces have been deployed in Darfur since 2004 and Rwanda has had four battalions deployed under UNAMID.
Since 2004, ACOTA has trained approximately 45,000 African soldiers and 3,200 African trainers, who have supported deployments to peacekeeping operations worldwide.
Rwanda is a prime illustration of ACOTA’s success because its forces in Darfur are recognized as a capable and highly affective military unit.
Nearly all new Rwandan peacekeeping forces are trained by ACOTA-trained instructors.