NYAKINAMA — A four-day international peace keeping conference opened Tuesday at the Rwanda Military Academy in Nyakinama. It was officially opened by the Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga.
The conference dubbed ‘Rwanda’s learned lessons in international peace support operations’ drew participants from 18 countries across Africa. Using Darfur as a case study, the meeting’s goal is to share experiences betweenofficers who have served in international keeping missions, Rwandan army officers who previously served in peace keeping missions are among the participants.
In his presentation, Kayonga pointed out that the conference would enhance the capacity of current and future officers assigned to peace keeping operations.
“We have learnt that applying things that have proved effective in one situation may not necessarily work in another situation,’’ Kayonga noted.
Quoting ‘Shake Hands with the Devil’, a book written by the former Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda, General Romeo Dallaire, Kayonga stressed that prior knowledge of peace keeping missions was vital for officers deployed in peace keeping.
“What frustrated me beyond belief was the inability of anybody and the UN to supply me with information on how other missions had dealt with the problem. I was being forced to invent the will in crucial areas under such a tight schedule,’’ Dallaire wrote.
The workshop was organised by Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) in conjunction with the African Contingency Operations and Training Assistance programme-ACOTA- a USA supported mission.
Chip Beck, the policy coordinator of ACOTA, said that the workshop was largely meant to develop professionalism among peace keepers.