Rwanda Aviation Unit IV (RAU IV) peacekeepers serving under the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) were decorated with UN medals by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loej, in recognition of their professional service.
The decoration took place on Thursday in Juba, South Sudan.
Loej appreciated RAU for having played a significant and critical role in supporting UNMISS’ operations, by among others enabling troop movements, conducting reconnaissance flights and air patrols, providing medical transportation as well as administrative and logistics flights.
She underscored that RAU peacekeepers’ bravery was exemplified last year in undertaking a successful operation to rescue 18 UNMISS personnel and five UN contractors who were taken hostage in Kaka, Upper Nile, an extremely high risk operating area.
Loej said the unit has contributed to the implementation of the Mission’s humanitarian mandate, including supporting UNMISS efforts to rescue abducted Ethiopian children in Likuangole area.
“I am told that in Rwandese language there is a saying, “mukomeze imihigo,” which means ‘maintain your dedication’. I think it is safe to say that the fourth rotation of the Rwandan Aviation Unit has maintained its dedication to the end,” Loej said.
RAU IV Contingent Commander, Lt Col Bernard Niyomugabo, expressed gratitude for the support and inspiration from the Mission leadership, as well as the harmonious working relationship with the Force Headquarters, sister UNMISS units and aviation section.
Over the last 11 months under UNMISS, RAU has performed 741 flights, transported 11,933 passengers and airlifted 1.227 tonnes of cargo to different UNMISS areas of operations.
The UNMISS Sector South Sudan Commander, Brig Gen Andrew Kagame, thanked the crew members, technicians and support staff for demonstrating the Rwandan values of hard work and patriotism.