KIGALI - Eighty five Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) peacekeepers departed for Khartoum, Sudan under the routine rotation exercise meant to swap 254 Rwandan peacekeepers that protect dignitaries and key installations of the AU-UN hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
“This exercise will continue until the end of this month when the last group of the 254 based in Khartoum will return home,” Army and Defense Spokesman, Lt. Col. Jill Rutaremara, told reporters shortly after the contingent’s departure.
The Rwandan contingent in Khartoum also provides administrative and clerical services to the mission.
Rutaremara also reiterated the government’s stand to pull out its peacekeepers if the draft UN report alleging that Rwandan troops were involved in mass killings in the DRC between1993-2003, is published.
“Rwanda’s stand has been made very clear to the UN. As far as we are concerned, our peacekeeping work continues in a normal way but Rwanda’s stand to pull-out has not been changed,” he stressed.
The government last month put RDF contingents serving under UN-backed peacekeeping operations on standby to pull out, if the UN publishes the report. Government accused the UN of “failure to manage the post-Genocide refugee crisis of 1994 in the then Zaire,” and says the leaked report has a dubious agenda.
“The allegations are malicious, if you read through, you realize that there is a kind of conspiracy – all these allegations attempt to tarnish the image of the RPA and therefore the RDF. The report disregards the mission of the RPA going into Congo. It also disregards the situation on the ground,” said Rutaremara,He further explained; the report attempts to purge the ex –FAR and Interahamwe militias of their crimes.
“It attempts to create a mirror image of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The report deliberately paints a picture of a situation in DRC similar to the one in Rwanda immediately before and during the Genocide. In so doing, the authors of the report fail to hide their agenda of constructing the ‘double genocide’ scenario that usually goes with Genocide denial and revisionism.”