New MINUSCA police chief visits Rwandan peacekeepers

ACP Damas Gatare makes a presentation during the visit by to the newly appointed MINUSCA Police Commissioner General Pascal Champion. Courtesy.

The newly appointed Police Commissioner for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), on Sunday, visited the Rwandan Formed Police Unit (FPU) base camp in the capital Bangui.

Gen. Pascal Champion arrived in the mission area on March 12, replacing Gen. Roland Zamora whose mandate ended in July last year.

The visit by the new Police Commissioner was in line with the ongoing inspection of all units under his command since he took over office, to assess their effectiveness and readiness and the likely challenges affecting them in execution of their peacekeeping mandates.

At Rwanda’s camp, Gen. Champion was received by FPU-1 contingent commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Damas Gatare.

Gatare gave him the overview of his unit’s capacity and readiness as well as challenges encountered since they arrived for the peacekeeping duties in December last year.

Gatare also thanked UNPOL for the “strong existing partnership” with Rwanda peacekeepers.

Gen. Champion thanked the Rwandan peacekeepers for their resilience and commitment.

He lauded their role in restoring peace and security in CAR and staying on course despite the existing challenges.

“Although it is the first time I am going to work with Rwandan Police peacekeepers, I know that since the start of the MINUSCA mission, Rwandan peacekeepers have been performing their duties exceptionally well and deserve respect and admiration,” Gen. Champion said.

He said that challenges related to accommodation and other infrastructure faced by the Rwandan contingent “will be addressed as a matter of emergency.”

The new Police Commissioner took over a component of 2,000 gendarmes and police deployed by various peacekeepers contributing countries.

Rwanda started its peacekeeping operations in CAR in 2014, when the maiden FPU contingent was deployed. Since then, 12 contingents have been deployed on rotational basis.

Currently, there are about 450 Rwandan police peacekeepers deployed to CAR, including three contingents; two FPUs and a Protection Support Unit, each composed of 140 officers. Others serve as Individual Police Officers (IPOs)

The contingents are charged with protection of high-profile officials, public order management, protection of internally displaced persons, key installations and infrastructure, and patrols and escort duties, among others.