The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), on Monday, concluded the rotation of the 165 members of its Air Force personnel serving under the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The last of the departing group was seen off by the RDF Air Force Chief of Staff, Brig Gen Joseph Damali, who advised them to be good ambassadors for Rwanda and to discharge their duties with professionalism.
At the same time, the officials received the last batch of the replaced unit consisting men and women whom Gen Damali thanked for the exemplary work done over the past one year of their tour of duty.
“This aviation unit, composed of pilots, mechanics and supporting staff, has done good work.
They performed different duties that include humanitarian supply, medical evacuation, among others,” Brig Gen Joseph Nzabamwita, the defence and military spokesperson, said.
Gen Nzabamwita said Rwanda Aviation Unit (RAU III) worked tirelessly in UNMISS to help South Sudan during the period of war, protecting civilians in the interest of peace and security.
Copters at work
Lt Col Louis Kanobayire, the outgoing Contingent Commander, handed over the command to Lt Col Bernard Niyomugabo of RAU-4 at Rwanda Aviation Unit Base in Juba.
During the last 12 months, RAU III positioned helicopters in Malakal in Upper Nile state, Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazal State and in Rumbek, according to RDF.
Rwanda maintains six helicopters in the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan and this is the 4th Aviation Unit deployed since RDF Air Force first deployed in the world’s youngest country on December 27, 2012.
The deployment followed a conflict between top leaders in Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which saw former vice president lead a faction that took arms to fight the government of President Salva Kiir.
The two parties last week signed an agreement committing to set up a government in which all parties are represented but international observers say the agreement remains fragile.
Rwanda maintains over 5,000 peacekeepers in different UN missions around the world, including Central African Republic, Darfur in Sudan and South Sudan.