The United Nations has expressed confidence in the Rwanda Defence Force’ contingent deployed to South Sudan under the recently established Regional Protection Force.
The UN head of mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, over the weekend, said that they were upbeat following Rwanda’s deployment of 123 troops towards the protection force.
The 123 RDF Peacekeepers are under the command of Major Bosco Ntaganira and are expected to be joined by over 700 more Rwandan troops.
Shearer said he derived his confidence from the previous record by RDF in peacekeeping activities.
“We have been waiting for you. We are glad that you have arrived. There is very important work to be done and we know that you will do an excellent job on behalf of the United Nations,” Shear told the troops on Saturday upon their arrival in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
The deployment follows a United Nations Security Council Resolution in 2016 that approved the deployment of a protection force that will mainly work on protecting the civilian population.
“The deployment follows a request from the United Nations, the acceptance of Government of Rwanda to deploy a Mechanised Infantry Battalion and the proposal to first send in a Reconnaissance Company as an Advance Party to the near future deployment of the Battalion totaling 920 troops,” Brig Gen Ferdinand Safari, the Director General for Policy and Strategy in the Ministry of Defence, and acting Military and Defence spokesperson, is quoted as saying in a statement.
Up to 4,000 troops are set to be deployed in South Sudan under the regional force as an intervention to heavy fighting seen as a setback to efforts to end the country’s devastating war.
Brig Gen Jean Jack L. Mupenzi, (Rwanda), the commander of the Regional Protection Force, welcomed the troops saying there was no doubt in the ability of the contingent given the reputation of RDF in all their deployment areas.
The force is expected to reinforce the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in bringing peace to a country where an estimated 50,000 people have been killed four years after a rift emerged between President Salva Kiir and his former vice President, Riek Machar.
Rwanda is the first country to deploy to the country under the regional protection force framework following the United Nation’s request.
Rwanda already maintains two infantry battalions in Juba and Malakal, ( in South Sudan) and one Aviation Unit comprised of a total of over 1,800 troops.
In April, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Rwanda’s Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi as Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Until then Kamanzi was, he was Force Commander of the UN Mission in Darfur, Sudan.