KICUKIRO - Rwanda has purchased more equipment that will soon be shipped to the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan to support the UN-AU peacekeeping mission, the Military Spokesman Maj. Jill Rutaremara has revealed.
Rwanda has deployed at least 3,500 troops with the UN AU Hybrid Mission (UNAMID), making her a major contributor to the mission.
“As part of solving the problem of few equipment that the peacekeeping mission has been facing, Rwanda acquired new equipment that will soon be airlifted to Darfur,” said Rutaremara.
The equipment includes 80 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and other heavy equipment. Meanwhile the airlifting of equipment by the United States-Africa Command from Kigali to Darfur kicked off yesterday morning and is expected to end tomorrow.
The commencement of the airlifting was witnessed by Maj. Gen. Patrick Nyanvumba accompanied by senior Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) commanders.
The material that was airlifted include military support and engineering vehicles, material handling and navigation equipment, forklifts and other oversized machines that include water treatment plants among others.
“All the equipment belongs to Rwanda and the peacekeepers will be using them under the wet-lease agreement signed between Rwanda and the UN.”
Rutaremara told The New Times at Kigali International Airport during the airlifting.
The equipment is worth an estimated US$20 million (approx. Rwf 11 billion) and is part of a donation from the US government as a means of empowering its partner nations who participate in multinational peace support operations through the African Contingent Operations Assistance (ACOTA).
Not all the equipment meant to be airlifted to Darfur will be flown by the US. According to Rutaremara, the second phase of the airlifting will be carried out by the United Nations towards the end of this month.
The Darfur region has been embroiled in internal strife that has left hundreds of thousands of its citizens dead while others, estimated to be in their millions have been internally displaced.
Rwanda has been contributing to this mission, which was initially facilitated by the African Union since 2004.