A total of 106 Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) troops are set to participate in this year’s edition of the East African Community (EAC) Military Sports and Culture Week in Bujumbura, Burundi.
This was revealed yesterday by Col Joseph Nzabamwita, the RDF Spokesperson.
The event which is slated for 14 to 28 this month, will bring together over 500 sportsmen and women representing the defence forces of the five member states within the EAC bloc.
“RDF is ready for the event; we have 18 soldiers who will take part in cross country, 22 in football, 32 men and women in netball, 18 in handball and 18 basketball,“ he announced.
Alongside the sports contest, the EAC Defence Sector will also be celebrating 10 years of cooperation which will ends 2011 under the theme; “One People, One Destiny: Yet Another Decade for Deeper EAC Defence Cooperation”.
According to a statement from the EAC, the primary objective of the military sports and cultural event is not competition but to contribute to confidence building and nurturing a spirit of sportsmanship among the regional defence forces as well as for individual soldiers to demonstrate their immense talents and diverse rich cultures.
"Burundi is ready for the games and we are looking forward to a very exciting two weeks of competition and cultural activities," stressed Brigadier-General Salvator Nahimana, Burundi’s Defence Liaison Officer and Chair of Defence Liaison Officers at the Arusha-based EAC Secretariat.
He stated that that all preparations are complete.
‘’We are anxiously waiting for the start of the prestigious occasion, which Burundi will be hosting for the first time since its inception some ten years ago,’’ Nahimana added.
A variety of sporting disciplines has been lined up including; handball (men), football (men), netball (women), cross-country (men and women) and basketball (men) as well as various cultural events reflecting life in the EAC.
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is also the Chairperson of EAC Summit, is expected to officially flag-off the games at the Prince Rwagasore Stadium in the heart of Bujumbura.
Ministers of Defence and Chiefs of Defence Forces from the EAC partner states are also expected to attend the opening ceremony.
The EAC Secretary General Ambassador, Dr Richard Sezibera, will also be among other distinguished guests at the ceremony.
The East African Military Sports and Culture Week has been held on a rotational basis since 2005, when the first edition was held in Kampala, Uganda.
Others have since been held in Nairobi, Kenya (2006), Zanzibar/Tanzania (May 2007), Kampala (June 2008) and Kigali (2009).