The leadership of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid) in Sudan has commended a Rwandan battalion there for exemplary performance and devotion to duty.
This comes after Rwanbatt 40, a Rwandan peacekeeping battalion based in Kabkabiya, one of the five districts making up North Darfur state, early this month quickly interceded and helped warring ethnic groups reach a peaceful agreement and commit to stop fighting.
Despite what the Unamid Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Paul Ignace Mella, called “serious challenges and some logistical constraints”, Rwanbatt 40 troops demonstrated devotion to duty during the inter-tribal clashes between Abballa and Gamir tribes from March 4 to 7, in Salaf Omra in North Darfur.
Sources in Darfur indicate that the peacekeepers intervened and brokered peace talks between the warring groups.
The blue helmets successfully persuaded the ethnic factions to sit together and resolve their differences amicably.
The warring factions subsequently reached a peaceful agreement, committed to stop fighting and agreed to embark on a peace and reconciliation process.
In a March 19 congratulatory letter to the Rwanbatt 40 commanding officer, Lt. Col. Kadida Kitoko, Lt. Gen. Mella said the Rwandan battalion demonstrated exemplary performance and devotion to duty.
He wrote: “Your timely response and sending reinforcement from Kabkabiya to the Saraf Omra team to help manage the crisis is highly appreciated.”
Kabkabiya is located about 147 kilometers from Salaf Omra.
“Thanks for the commendable job and convey my appreciation to all officers, men and women under your command as well as to all members of the co-ordination committee in Saraf Omra,” he added.
The Unamid Force Commander reiterated his continuous support to the Rwanbatt 40 commanding officer and the entire sector.
Rwanbatt 40 is one of the four Rwandan battalions deployed under Unamid. It is deployed in Kabkabiya (the battalion headquarters) and has companies deployed in Saraf Omra, Sortony and El-Sarif localities.
There are 170 kilometres from Unamid headquarters in El-Fasher to Kabkabiya,
North Darfur, with an area of 296,420 square kilometres and an estimated population of about 1,583,000, is one of the five states constituting the Darfur region where violence is reported to have escalated in the recent past.
The RDF maintains over 3,200 peacekeepers in Unamid, which is mandated to protect civilians in the Darfur region.
In what is now dubbed peacekeeping with a difference, RDF peacekeepers are not only providing security to the people of Darfur but are also work hard to transform the lives of Darfur residents by introducing Rwandan community outreach programmes, including Umuganda.
The peacekeepers have built schools, providided medical care, constructed water facilities in the dry region, as well as saved Darfur women from possible rape as they wander about in search of wood fuel by making charcoal saving stoves known as Rondereza.