KIGALI - Over 600 Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) Special Forces of the 2nd Battalion in Nasho, yesterday, passed-out after one year of training in counter-terrorism combat.
The forces, who were equipped with special skills and knowledge, were commissioned by the Minister of Defence, Gen. James Kabarebe, at a ceremony at Nasho Special Forces Training Base, in Kirehe District.
Addressing the excited soldiers, Gen. Kabarebe said that RDF as a professional force thrives on good training and morale, which has made it stand out on the continent. He advised the soldiers to maintain the morale and skills they acquired during the training to protect the sovereignty of the country.
“The kind of training you acquired here can scare away the enemies of the country even before they attack. With the display of skills you showed us in your demonstrations, the enemy would get scared knowing how skilled you are,” Kabarebe told the soldiers following an impressive demonstration of skills.
“Our main constitutional duty is to protect the sovereignty of the state but also as RDF, we believe in playing our part in the economic development of the country and that’s something known of the RDF,”
“Internationally, we conduct peacekeeping missions to restore peace in countries where it doesn’t exist, And, locally we work with other institutions like police to ensure the security of all Rwandans,” Kabarebe reminded the officers.
He told the graduating soldiers that their job is to protect the country from enemies or infiltrators whose intentions are to destabilise the country, adding that such people exist out there, including former members of the force.
“They are there. They keep talking on international radio stations, they write in papers but with this kind of training you have, they know that all they can do is talk but they cannot dare attack us because they know the consequences,” Kabarebe said.
“Some of them were part of us, others were Generals but the question is, which kind of General can abandon an accomplished force like you? It means that such a person was actually not with us and as you know a General is a General because he has soldiers like you but when he abandons you, he is not a General anymore,” Kabarebe said.
Kabarebe, who was flanked by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga told the soldiers that they have the responsibility to support the government in improving the lives of all Rwandans and bringing about development.
He noted that good standards of living and development can directly translate into peace and stability because even citizens have the obligation to protect what they have worked for.
Among other things, Kabarebe cited development activities which the RDF have contributed to, such as constructing classrooms for 9 Year Basic Education, terraces, tree planting, building houses for needy people, hospitals and roads.
He cited initiatives such as Rwf50m which RDF contributed to One Dollar Campaign, 800 cows worth Rwf145m contributed towards the One Cow per Family programme and $36, 000 which will also be used to acquire more cows.
Gen. Kabarebe said that the army will continue to work for the development of the country and improving the lives of all Rwandans. He said that RDF soldiers have mobilised amongst themselves US$5m which will be used to construct houses for soldiers in Kami, Nasho, Gako, Nyakinama, Gabiro, Kanombe and many other units.
Present at the ceremony was the Minister of Foreign affairs Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister Stanislas Kamanzi, top army and police commanders, Military attaches and district and provincial officials.