Brig. Gen. Charles Karamba, the Chief of Staff, Air Force, has challenged a Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) contingent that’s set to go on a one-year tour of duty in troubled South Sudan to demonstrate the best of Rwanda during their mission.
The 165-strong contingent, composed of pilots, flight engineers, and logisticians, will serve under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
They will replace another Rwanda Air Force continent – who will be returning home after spending a year in South Sudan – on August 31.
Karamba was addressing the troops at Busanza RAF airbase during a pre-deployment briefing yesterday.
The tasks of the aviation unit will include airlifting UN workers and their cargo, as well as conducting reconnaissance and rescue operations, among others.
Brig. Gen. Karamba urged them to uphold RDF as well as Rwandan values during their tour of duty.
“You will be representing Rwanda and so you must uphold Rwandan values and be good ambassadors of your country,”
He reminded them of what is awaiting them, urging them to prepare for whatever challenges they will encounter.
“You should know that there are various challenges where you are going. You will need to know the environment, the terrain, and the people, and cultivate a good working relationship with other countries’ contingents,” he said.
Above all, he said, “you should be characterised by discipline, professionalism and caution in whatever you’ll be doing”.
South Sudan in on the edge again following recent flare-up in hostilities that effectively wrecked last year’s peace deal between the government of President Salva Kiir and his former deputy and rebel leader Riek Machar.
Machar has since fled the country and replaced as first vice president by a former loyalist.
The first aviation unit of Rwanda Defence Forces was deployed in South Sudan in 2012.
Rwanda aviation unit has its main base in the capital Juba and forward base in Malakal, the Northern city in the Upper Nile state.