Rwanda’s Minister of Defence, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi has underscored Rwanda’s commitment to supporting post-conflict Liberia as it rebuilds its army.
“We would like to assure you that our defence forces are ready to continue with the trend of enhancing our relationship and see how we can cooperate more than before,” Gen. Gatsinzi said this while receiving a Liberian delegation at his office yesterday.
“Our institutions are ready to receive your soldiers,” he assured the visitors led by the Liberian Minister of National Defence, Brownie Samukai Jr who expressed satisfaction with the ongoing collaboration with the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF).
“My delegation and I are very pleased. This is not our first visit. We’ve had a couple of visits to Rwanda and we are very pleased with the extent of discussions we continue to have and the cooperation,” Samukai said at the onset.
“Our armed force is still a young one and we are still in a learning curve,” he added, saying that they were also getting assistance from the West African regional grouping – Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), among others.
After the meeting, the Liberian Minister added that there were other technical details to be discussed further in what he referred to as “extending the African solidarity.”
Army Spokesman Maj. Jill Rutaremara said that the RDF is set to help train Liberia’s new armed forces.
“Next year, we will start implementing,” he pointed out, saying that, apart from training, Rwanda would offer much more especially in terms of its experience in using scarce resources effectively and instilling discipline in the army.
Samukai is also accompanied by Command Officer-In-Charge (COIC) of the country’s new army, Nigerian Maj. Gen. Suraj Alao Abdurrahman and an AFL Garrison Commander Col. Daniel Moore.
Post conflict Liberia has, since 2005, been engaged in efforts to rebuild its army - the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). Apart from Nigeria, others on the ground to help Liberia’s AFL include Ghana and Sierra Leone.
In the interim build-up period, Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf appointed a Nigerian officer, Maj. Gen. Abdurrahman, as the COIC of the new army.
Rwanda and Liberia earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the framework of defence cooperation. Also present at yesterday’s meeting were Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. James Kabarebe and RDF Chief of Training and Operations (J3) Brig. Gen. Dr. Richard Rutatina.