Sixty four troops of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) yesterday left for the Sudanese capital Khartoum, where they will perform peacekeeping duties under the auspice of the United Nations Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) programme.
The troops commanded by Maj. Manasseh Manzi were airlifted to Khartoum yesterday morning to replace another contingent that has been deployed there for the past year.
According to Lt. Col Peter Kalimba who is in charge of support operations in the RDF, the rotation is expected to go on until Friday when all the 254 Rwandan troops serving under UNAMIS will be replaced. Those deployed have a mandate of one year as well.
Normally prior to deployment, soldiers undertake courses in human rights, Arabic and English languages. They take lessons on the structure of UN and other pertinent courses that would help them accomplish their duties.
Lt. Col Peter Kanimba told The New Times that while in Khartoum, the soldiers will among other duties protect the UNAMIS headquarters and VIPs.
The UNAMIS mandate prescribes that troops also carry out office work; man and officer clerical support and provide level one medical service to fellow peacekeepers.
The contingent was seen off by the Chief of Defence Staff Gen James Kabarebe. Meanwhile, another contingent of sixty four RDF officers headed by Maj. Charles Ndagije arrived yesterday evening aboard Jordan Aviation Plane and was welcomed by the Chief Commander of Infantry Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga in company with other members of the RDF High Command.
In his address to the returned soldiers, Gen. Kayonga extolled them for the good work done.
“We kept following your day to day operations and surely you did a great job and you will always be considered comrades of the Rwandan people,” said Kayonga.
Gen. Kayonga also said that the RDF is preparing a welcoming function after the rotations comes to and end.
Speaking after landing at Kigali International Airport, the Deputy contingent commander of the 254 troops Maj. Ndagije who returned with the first contingent in rotation said that during their first days of deployment, they experienced weather difficulties but later got used to the climate.
Despite difficulties faced by the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) like lack of equipment, Ndagije said that UNAMIS is well equipped and fully financed.
The United Nations Security Council set the deadline of UNAMIS to accomplish their duties in Sudan by the end of 2012, so far Rwandan troops serving under the auspice of UNAMIS have spent three years in Khartoum.