Rwanda, USAF strengthen ties

CDS discusses Military cooperation with Dutch GASABO - Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) and the United States 17th Air Component (USAFRICOM) have embarked on plans to  build the capacity of Rwanda Air Force. This emerged yesterday during a meeting that brought together RDF Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen James Kabarebe and USAFRICOM Vice Commander, Brig. Gen Michael Callan, which took place at the Ministry of Defence.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General James Kabarebe  having talks with Brig Gen Michael Callan yesterday. (Photo GBarya).
The Chief of Defence Staff, General James Kabarebe having talks with Brig Gen Michael Callan yesterday. (Photo GBarya).

CDS discusses Military cooperation with Dutch

GASABO - Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) and the United States 17th Air Component (USAFRICOM) have embarked on plans to  build the capacity of Rwanda Air Force.

This emerged yesterday during a meeting that brought together RDF Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen James Kabarebe and USAFRICOM Vice Commander, Brig. Gen Michael Callan, which took place at the Ministry of Defence.

The meeting mainly centred on how USAFRICOM can continue partnering with the RDF in improving the Air Force and offering logistical support especially air-lifting equipment and forces for UNAMID.

UNAMID is the United Nations and AU Mission in Darfur in Sudan which Rwanda is a major troop contributor.

Speaking to the press shortly after the meeting, Gen. Callan said that his discussions with the army chiefs focussed on identifying priority areas which the RDF would like the Germany-based USAFRICOM to intervene.

He however emphasised that currently the 17th Air Force will concentrate on how they can continue supporting RDF especially regarding airlifting equipment, supplies and ferrying officers to Darfur.

In other areas, he said that the US Air Force will work with Rwanda in training and professionalizing the latter’s Air Force as well as other training arrangements aimed at equipping forces with better skills that include medical, logistical and air traffic management trainings.

He noted that RDF has continued to impress in different areas especially regarding professionalism and participating in peacekeeping missions which compelled USAFRICOM to consider Rwanda as a serious candidate for their cooperation.

Callan who had earlier visited the Genocide Memorial Site at Gisozi said that he has no doubt that the current US government under President Barack Obama will continue supporting the USAFRICOM to pursue tailored-engagements and interventions aimed improving the continent’s Military.

In January this year, the Stuttgart based 17th Air Force assisted RDF to airlift tones of equipment destined for the war-torn Darfur Region of Sudan.

He revealed that the USAFRICOM Commander Gen William Ward will travel to Rwanda soon to further discuss the identified fundamental areas in the RDF where the US can intervene.

Callan noted that the 17th Airforce will remain stationed in Germany for the time being but plans to shift it to Africa in future are being discussed.

In a related development, Kabarebe also welcomed in his offices the Dutch Ambassador to Rwanda, Frans Makken, to discuss how to foster Military cooperation between Rwanda and the Netherlands.

Addressing the press after the meeting, the Ambassador who was accompanied by Legal Officers from the Dutch army said that their discussions focussed on how the two armies can cooperate to improve legal entities within the army.

Makken who also met the MINADEF Permanent Secretary, Amb Zach Nsenga and the J4 Commander (Logistics) Maj. Gen Patrick Nyanvumba, said that the Dutch army will provide legal training and other military skills to equip the forces especially those going for peace keeping missions for better performance.

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