The United States Air Force has concluded the airlifting of heavy machinery from Kigali to Rwandan peacekeeping troops serving under the auspices of the United Nation-African Union Mision in Darfur (UNAMID). The airlifting started Wednesday and ended yesterday.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Military spokesman Maj. Jill Rutaremara said: “the US airlifted about 150 tonnes of equipment to Darfur and the airlifting was carried out successfully.”
The material that was airlifted include military support and engineering vehicles, material handling and navigation equipment, forklifts and other oversized machines that include water treatment plants among others.
“The airlifting ended yesterday and it was the first phase of the airlifting, the second phase of the equipment will be flown to Darfur towards the end of this month,” Rutaremara added.
The equipments were airlifted by the US Africa Command (Africom) on the directive of US President George Bush and the exercise was conducted by two C-17 Globemaster aircrafts.
However, reports indicate that much of the remaining equipment will be airlifted by other aircrafts to be contracted by the US State Department and the United Nations.
Part of the equipment is the very heavy trucks. The trucks are equipped with cranes and will operate in support of Rwandan peacekeeper convoys to help repair vehicles along their routes.
Rwanda maintains 3500 troops in the war torn Darfur region as part of the Hybrid Force.
The airlifting is the first major mission planned by the air component of Africom also known as Seventeenth Air Force, which is headquartered at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Africom was formally activated in October last year and is based in Stuttgart, Germany.