The President of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba-Panza, has lauded Rwanda for its role in restoring peace and security and taking a “noble initiative” to send peacekeepers to her country.
Samba-Panza specifically welcomed the move by the Rwandan government to deploy Police officers before the due date of the newly-created UN-backed Police peacekeeping force.
In an interview at the State House in the capital Bangui, yesterday, Samba-Panza said CAR has “experienced bad times in the past” brought about by individuals and groups that “violated the law” which requires a professional law enforcement agency to reinforce law and order and also share best policing practices with the local Police force and gendarmerie.
As per the UN plan, Police and military forces under the UN Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in CAR are supposed to deploy effective September 15.
The Rwanda National Police started the deployment of its contingent of 140 officers under Rwanda Formed Police Unit One on Monday.
The second batch of officers and equipment, including armoured vehicles, arrived yesterday morning. They were received at Bangui international airport by Chief Supt. Benoit Kayijuka, the contingent commander, who left with the first batch.
“Today, there is a strong bond between Central African Republic and Rwanda; we are enjoying strong bilateral cooperation. I am thankful that when I requested for Police peacekeepers, Rwanda became the first country to express willingness to send its contingent,” Samba-Panza said.
Rwanda deployed peacekeeping troops in the restive nation in January and last week became the first country to contribute Police peacekeepers to CAR.
The president said there have been many armed and dangerous factions and many politicians that wanted to and take their position before the arrival of Minusca forces.
“In the past few weeks, we have also been seeing bandits involved in violent theft and other criminal activities because they think when the blue berets arrive on September 15, the official date, it won’t be possible to implement their criminal acts,” she said.
“The coming of the Rwandan Police peacekeepers is an honour to us because they will help prevent these criminal acts.”
Rwanda maintains 850 troops in Central African Republic and are charged with, among others, guarding and escorting the head of State and and other senior leaders, as well as key government installations.