Despite having managed to restore some calmness and stability in the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur, the peacekeeping force under the United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) still lacks the required logistics to adequately execute its mandate.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the UNAMID Force Commander Lt. Gen Patrick Nyamvumba said that the 14,700-strong force still operates with limited resources compared to the size of the territory under their watch.
Nyamvumba who was appointed to head the force two and a half months ago said that the biggest challenge remains limited resources and the absence of a political solution to the crisis.
He said the force lacks the required force multipliers and enablers necessary to execute its mandate in the vast war-torn area in west of Sudan.
“Darfur is a very vast area---we are talking of 500,000 square kilometres. I need air resources if am to do any monitoring but I don’t have enough. We need helicopters and lighter aircrafts. We need logistic units, hospitals, and engineering units,”
“Yes, some of these logistical needs are in place but again to be able to move and effectively deploy a force of that size, you need a lot more than we have at the moment,” Gen. Nyamvumba said.
Prior to his appointment Nyamvumba was head of Logistics in Rwanda Defence Forces. Despite the mismatches in logistical support, Nyamvumba sounded optimistic that during his one year stint at the helm, he would strive to see a return of peace in the region where confrontations between government forces and several rebel factions have left thousands displaced and killed thousands.
Responding to how he would want to be remembered during his time in Darfur, Nyamvumba said that whatever he was doing will be held in context of Rwanda as a country contributing towards international justice and peace but not him as an individual.
“First of all, I would like to be remembered in the bigger context of Rwanda’s contribution towards bringing peace and security to Darfur. Much as I’m there as Gen. Nyamvumba, am also cautious that I represent the interests of my country,”
“I will work towards contributing to a final settlement. Whether it happens in my period of work or not, that’s something I can’t tell now. But what am sure of is that I will try, to the best of my ability, to see that I make that modest contribution as is expected of me,” Nyamvumba adds.
Rwanda has about 3,200 peacekeeping troops in Darfur operating alongside troops from several contributing countries mainly from Africa, Asia and South America.