Troops airlifted by RwandAir
RWANDA Defence Forces (RDF) yesterday began a rotation exercise of its soldiers serving under the UN-AU hybrid mission in Sudan, after a one-year tour of duty.
The rotation process began yesterday with over 200 soldiers returning after one year of service in the troubled Sudanese region while a similar number was sent to replace them.
For the first time, the troops were airlifted from the northern African country by the national carrier RwandaAir.
The returning troops were received at Kigali International Airport by Brig. Gen Jean Bosco Kazura, who commended them for the good service and positively representing the country on the peacekeeping mission.
“The country is proud of you. The role you have played along with your colleagues to ensure that peace returns to Sudan makes our country proud,” Kazura told the soldiers.
He told them that while it is time to rest after the long service in Sudan, it will be only for a short while before they resume serving the country.
“You might be aware that we are heading into elections, so there will be no much time to rest. It is service as usual. We expect you to ensure that peace prevails during this period,” Kazura told the rejoicing soldier.
According to the Army Spokesperson Lt. Col Jill Rutaremara, 100 soldiers from the 45th Battalion, were airlifted in the wee hours of the morning by RwandAir to replace the ones who returned from the 49th in the area known as Zalinge in Darfur commanded by Lt. Col. Callixte Kanimba,.
The 45th Battalion is under the command of Lt. Col. E Mugabo.
“This exercise of rotating our soldiers in the four battalions in Darfur began this morning and will end on September 27. Beginning on the 29th of this month to the 31st of September we will also be shuffling our soldier in Khartoum serving under UNAMIS,” Rutaremara said.
He added that this year’s exercise is special because Rwanda has the capacity to use a local airline to airlift the soldier. He said the UN contracted RwandAir this time to carry out the exercise.
Each of the four battalions has 800 soldiers and according to Rutaremara, Rwanda maintains over 3,500 soldiers serving on the peacekeeping missions in Sudan.