The rotation of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) peacekeepers serving under the UN-AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur continued yesterday as troops were airlifted to the troubled region of North Sudan.
The rotation proceeded with the departure of 267 soldiers, who set off for a nine-month tour of duty in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan. A similar number of troops returned.
“The rotation of forces began on June 26. The fourth battalion led by Lt Col. Pascal Muhizi has set off and will be replacing battalion 75, which is led by Col. John Bosco Kananga,” said the RDF spokesperson Col. Joseph Nzabamwita.
He added that the experienced troops are expected to perform their duties similar to what they do in Rwanda.
“So far, our forces have a good record on peacekeeping missions which is why they have won the respect of the international community.”
The troops will be deployed in Darfur’s Sector North, Kapkabiya, while others will be based in Sarfumra and Sartonda.
Briefing the troops before departure, the RDF Chief of Defence Staff, Lt Gen Charles Kayonga told the soldiers that he had full confidence in their capabilities and discipline, and that he looked forward to the accomplishment of their duties, an RDF’s trademark over the years.
“What you do has a big impact on the nation; we all have one mission. You have to work with passion and commitment,” he said.
Gen. Kayonga added that; “Since the mission is for a short period, you will serve for nine months without leave. Think big, think wisely and work tirelessly, your nation is counting on you.”
He urged the troops to observe the Rwandan values as their guiding principles.
“You are great soldiers. You have several advantages and adequate skills. What you are required of is to serve with maximum discipline,” he said.
Rwanda maintains 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.