The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) yesterday started a two-day training session in peacekeeping. It is being facilitated officers from by the US Army under the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (Acota) programme run by the US Department of State.
Col. (Rtd) Timothy Rainey, the programme director, said the workshop aims at examining challenges peacekeepers faced in previous missions, which would later facilitate in training.
The training attracted 70 participants.
“They (RDF) leave an outstanding reputation wherever they serve. Most times they are faced by huge challenges but they usually find a way of going about them,” Col. Rainey said.
“Recently after being informed on a very short notice they were still able to prepare and deploy in the Central African Republic (CAR) on time and that’s phenomenal,” he added.
Last month, Rwanda sent a battalion of 850 peacekeepers to Bangui, the capital of the restive State.
Defence and Miliatry spokesperson Joseph Nzabamwita said the workshop will improve the quality of peace services offered by Rwanda.
“Our working relationship with the US Army on peacekeeping issues has been there for at least the last 10 years,” Brig. Gen. Nzabamwita said.
He said challenges met in missions varied from bad weather to language barrier, noting that some can be addressed.
Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, the Chief of Defence Staff, expressed commitment to continued co-operation with the US Army.
“We are committed to working together to overcome contemporary security challenges facing our continent,” he said.
He added that the workshop would help build on their Peace Support Operations (PSO) experience, while at the same time improving their best practices.
Acota initiative is designed to improve African militaries’ capabilities by providing selected training and equipment necessary for multinational peace support operations.
The US Africa Command supports the Acota programme by providing military mentors, trainers, and advisors at the request of State Department.
It operates in 25 countries.
The US last month airlifted Rwandan peacekeepers to CAR as well as equipment provided to Rwanda via Acota.
Rwanda provides peacekeepers to several countries on the continent, including Sudan, South Sudan and, more recently, CAR.