Rwanda National Police (RNP), yesterday, started the rotational deployment of three contingents of 420 officers under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
Two Formed Police Unit (FPU) contingents composed of 280 officers, left Kigali International Airport Thursday morning to replace the same number, who also returned home later in the evening aboard the national carrier – RwandAir – after a successful one year of tour-of-duty.
The third contingent – Protection and Support Unit – of 140 officers under the command of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Emmanuel Hatari is also expected to depart this Saturday to replace the same number, who will also arrive home later that day.
Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera saluted-off the deployed contingents while ACP William Kayitare received the returning officers.
Meanwhile, ACP Elias Mwesigye, who headed the officers (RWAFPU1 and RWAFPU2) back to their motherland as their commander, expressed “satisfaction and proud” of what they achieved in restoring peace.
“The nature of our mandate, which has been taken up by our successors, had core priorities; protection of civilians – which is always given emphasis – security of UN personnel and key installations, facilitating relief aid and supporting the local government to restore security, a duty that we executed with dignity and team spirit,” ACP Mwesigye said.
“We also conducted patrols on deterrence, ensured incident free events like independence celebrations. We were tasked with the security of the President of the UN General Assembly and the Secretary General of UN during their visit, and this also included patrolling the whole capital city of Bangui,” he added.
Rwandan police peacekeepers are also charged with the security of the Prime Minister of CAR as well as MINUSCA Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.
“Of course, in peacekeeping you will encounter challenges, which you have to be prepared to face. We stood strong and responded with decisive force, and repelled militias when they attacked an IDP camp in Kaga-Bandoro region, which is under the protection of our peacekeepers,” he said.
Kaga-Bandoro region is about 400km from the capital Bangui, and a home of about 25, 000 displaced persons, which was under the protection of RWAFPU2 under the command of Chief Supt. Jean Claude Kajeguhakwa.
The UN recognised the Rwandan peacekeepers for their “professional, exemplary and sacrifice for the people of CAR” following two-day standoff that occurred in July that saw the armed group repulsed, some killed, others captured and recovered weapons including arms.
“We conducted communal activities with the local people, which further built our working relations with them. We feel proud as Rwandans coming back home safe leaving a legacy behind,” ACP Mwesigye said.
Rwanda started deploying in CAR in 2014 and has so far conducted a combined ten rotations of RWAFPU1, RWAFPU2 and PSU.
The PSU undertakes special duties such as protection for VIPs.