The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. James Kabarebe has commended the performance of Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) peacekeeping operation in Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region.
He was addressing a contingent of 155 troops after their arrival at Kigali International Airport, the last batch to arrive after one year of service overseas.
The troops who are part of the 539-strong 35th battalion has been operating under the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and operated from the Kapkabaiya, Sortani and Sulfumra bases of Darfur.
Addressing the peacekeepers, Kabarebe said that Rwanda is proud of the work being done by the peacekeeping mission. Currently, Rwanda maintains over 2500 troops in the war ravaged Darfur, a region that has had at least 200,000 of its citizens killed while millions have been driven out of their homes.
Kabarebe added that RDF peacekeepers are successfully restoring peace in the troubled region of Sudan. He remarked that the RDF has achieved global prominence in a very short time because of discipline and commitment especially in their excellent performance in Darfur.
“The role of the military in building the country is always important and of great significance, that is why we are honoring you for the great work you are doing for your country and your people,” said Kabarebe who was flanked by other senior RDF officials.
The battalion was commanded Lt Col Alex Ngoga Kayumba who said that significant change in the situation in the Darfur has been realized compared to when they arrived there.
“From the time we arrived in Darfur to the last minute we left, there has been a reasonable change in terms of security; the RDF peacekeepers have contributed greatly to the restoration of the peace in the Darfur region,” he said. He added that the force has managed to succeed even with inadequate equipment.
Asked how his battalion survived with minimal equipment, Kayumba said that the troops had to use the available equipment to ensure that the mission was carried out successfully.
“We operated with minimal equipment though it did not halt our operations; we effectively managed to execute our duties; there were no interruptions,” Kayumba said.
Currently, Rwanda has four battalions deployed in different sectors of the Darfur and the rotation of other battalions is expected to go on until December.