KIGALI-The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) has begun a rotation exercise of its soldiers serving under the UN-AU hybrid mission in Sudan, after a one-year tour of duty.
The rotation process began yesterday with the departure of 267 soldiers, who set off for a nine month mandate in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan, while a similar number of troops returned.
The troops were seen off by the Chief of Staff/Reserve Force, Lt Gen. Fred Ibingira at a function held at the Kigali International Airport early Sunday morning.
In his briefing to the peacekeepers, Ibingira challenged them to positively represent their nation.
“You are representing a reputable nation that has been hailed by the international community for its efforts in promoting peace in Darfur. You need to ensure that you maintain this reputation and serve your mission effectively,” Ibingira told the soldiers.
According to the Army Spokesperson, Lt. Col Jill Rutaremara, 267 soldiers from the 69th battalion were the first to be airlifted.
“The troops replace those in the 45th battalion and the rotation will go on up July 2,” said Rutaremara.
Lt Col Jean Bosco Rutikanga will replace Col Emmanuel Karemera as the contingent’s commander.
Rwanda has four battalions deployed under the United Nations- African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) comprising of over 3,200 soldiers.
RDF forces have been deployed in Sudan since 2004.