As Sudan gears up for the referendum that is set to decide whether Southern Sudan remains independent, Rwandan peacekeepers stationed in the country have announced that they are ready to handle any security challenges that may arise.
The announcement was made by the commander of the Rwandan contingent at the UN Mission in Sudan UNMIS, Lt. Col. William Kayitare in a briefing to Rwandan journalists at his Headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan Kayitare cited the adverse weather conditions as one of the challenges.
“We are carrying out the mandate tasks despite the severe climatic conditions that we are also being acclimatized to,” said Kayitare.
For years, Sudan has been in a state of civil war interspersed with a number of uneasy truces and ceasefires.
UNMIS deploys a multinational Peace Support Force (PSF) to assist the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 in order to achieve a peaceful referendum.
The first referendum will determine whether or not Southern Sudan should be autonomous from the north, while another one will determine if the oil-rich Abyei region of central Sudan will remain part of the north or joins the south.
The first Rwandan contingent to UNMIS took over from an Italian contingent in November 2005.