Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) has started a relief in place operation for its troops deployed in peacekeeping missions. The first batch of 5 Infantry Battalion troops left Kigali on Friday for Malakal in UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) where they are replacing 35 Infantry Battalion that returned recently.
Maj. Gen Alexis Kagame, the 4 Division Commander, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff, welcomed the returning UNMISS peacekeepers and congratulated them for accomplished mission.
“On behalf of RDF leadership, we thank you for a mission well accomplished with the highest discipline. I urge you to maintain the key values, discipline, patriotism, professionalism and commitment at work that have always led RDF to success” he said.
Those leaving for mission were urged to be good ambassadors of the country and accomplish their mission with professionalism.
The Relief in Place operation will run until February 2016 and will see six Battalions with a total of 4812 troops return home from different UN mission areas.
The first phase of rotation will run from November to December 2015 whereby 35 Infantry Battalion, 14 Infantry Battalion, 55 Infantry Battalion, 25 Infantry Battalion deployed in UNMISS and UNAMID in Darfur will be relieved respectively by their colleagues from 5 Infantry Battalion, 49 Infantry Battalion, 59 Infantry Battalion and 73 Infantry Battalion.
The second phase for the two remaining Battalions, one deployed in Juba, South Sudan and another in MINUSCA in Central Africa Republic will be conducted from January to February 2016.
Rwanda currently maintains more than 5000 troops in peacekeeping mission and is the fifth largest troop and police contributing country to UN Peacekeeping missions globally.