A Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) contingent of 41 officers and men are participating in a continental field training exercise dubbed AMANI Africa II, which kicked off on Monday at Lohatla Combat Training Centre, Northern Cape Province, in South Africa.
The contingent is led by Lt Col Martin Kagarura, according to a statement from RDF.
The objective of the exercise is to validate the African Union capability to intervene and resolve conflicts on the continent.
It is a culmination of regional exercises and meetings intended to make the African Standby Force (ASF) fully operational.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Amb. Smail Chergui, hailed the gains so far made by Africa towards resolving the continent's problems, according to the statement.
He pointed out that the continental exercise is another milestone along the continuum of achievements.
“This Amani II (two) exercise will also provide us with the opportunity to test and adopt the ASF rapid deployment capability in order to cope with the contemporary nature of security threats we continue to face,” Chergui is quoted as having said.
Rwandan troops along with others from the continent will play roles designed to test African capabilities in responding to conflict scenarios both as 'rapid intervention' and 'traditional' peacekeepers.
Meanwhile, Beatrice Mironko (from Rwanda) has been nominated as the Deputy Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union to the continental exercise, the statement said.
Rwanda's Defence Attaché to the AU, Lt Col Ndore Rurinda also attended the opening ceremony.
The exercise has attracted more than 5,000 military, police and civilians from the Regional Economic Communities/Mechanisms and from volunteer nations of the ACIRC (African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises).
Rwanda has contributed a contingent both as a Member State of the Eastern African Standby Force (EASF) as well as a volunteer nation to the ACIRC.
According to the RDF statement, the Rwandan contingent will play under both organisations in two different phases and scenarios of the same exercise.
Current contributions to exercises and peace missions on the continent and the additional pledged resources made by President Paul Kagame at the UN General Assembly on September 29, 2015, makes Rwanda one of the biggest troop and police contributors to UN peacekeeping operations to date.
On October 9, 2015, Rwanda signed a memorandum of understanding with the AU in Addis Ababa, in which the country pledged contribution to the ACIRC of one Motorised Infantry Battalion, one Artillery Battalion and one Level two (II) Hospital.
The Amani II exercise is scheduled to run until November 7.