200 RDF soldiers from the 9th battalion, yesterday returned home after a year of dedicated service in the UN peace keeping mission in Darfur.
The soldiers who were deployed in the troubled area mid October last year, expressed excitement upon completing their peace keeping mandate successfully, and thanked their teammates on the mission for making it possible for them to execute their mission.
“We are extremely happy to be back home after a year of serving in this mission. We have encountered many experiences and learnt a lot from them, but most importantly we are happy that we executed our mission successfully and in a way that makes our country proud,” remarked Major Happy Ruvusha, the commander of the 9th battalion
He pointed out that they didn’t face serious problems because they had prepared well.
“We didn’t face serious challenges in Darfur, since we had been prepared and oriented to face conditions like the unfriendly weather before leaving for the mission,” he said
On the question of how the locals and other peace keeping groups from other countries have been relating with the Rwandan soldiers, the heavily built major noted that they have enjoyed warm relations with other stakeholders in this mission.
He added that the locals appreciated them especially, for the home-grown Umuganda communal work they introduced in the areas they operated.
“The people in Darfur are used to the prudence of the Rwandan solders, so their expectations are always high, even from the new ones going there. This is because of the positive precedent already set It’s a challenge to those going to keep it up,” he added.
Major Jill Rutaremara, the RDF spokesperson, observed that the returning soldiers conducted themselves well and completed their one year peacekeeping mandate successfully, that it was time for them to come back for other duties.
“Our soldiers conducted themselves well throughout their one year mandate in Darfur, their coming is just part of the normal rotation where some are brought back and others deployed for the same mission.”
“These had to come and have some rest as they wait for new deployment in other duties,” he noted.
Their return comes a few hours after 200 other RDF soldiers commanded by Col. Callixte Kanimba flew out to serve in the world’s largest peace mission.
The rotation of the 9th battalion will end on November 5 while the rotation for the entire four battalions in Darfur is expected to end on November 23.
The soldiers who have just returned have been operating in West Darfur in the areas of Zalingye, Mugujar and Nardidi.