KIGALI - The Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) has emphasised its willingness to share peacekeeping skills with other armies so as to help in initiatives aimed at bringing peace to the region.
RDF Spokesperson Maj. Jill Rutaremara disclosed this over the phone yesterday.
“This of course is in line with the idea of helping bring peace in the region and, what is most important is that others learn from us and we too, learn from them,” Rutaremara said. He stressed that it is “not a one way traffic” since everyone involved benefits.
“We are learning from each other. They have got something to offer us and we have got something to offer them. We will continue doing this, in the interest of peace, anywhere – we shall always comply whenever our knowledge will be required.”
In an earlier press briefing held Wednesday with the Commander of the United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM),Gen. William Ward, Rutaremara had noted that RDF had previously organized experience-sharing seminars and workshops.
“As RDF, we have organized seminars and workshops from experiences, from lessons learnt and best practices, for peacekeeping and the last one that was organized here attracted twenty six African countries,” he said.
“We have also had our friends from the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces who want to deploy in Darfur. They have visited Rwanda to learn from our experience.”
Rutaremara noted that RDF officers – Brig. Gen. Frank K. Mushyo and Col. Ephraim Rurangira travelled to neighbouring Tanzania to “share experiences and advice” as well as lend a hand in preparing a Tanzanian battalion for the Darfur mission.
“Our officers have been to Tanzania to help our brothers in Tanzania because of the experiences that we have acquired.”
Rwanda has since 2004 maintained a peacekeeping force in Darfur initially as AMIS which was facilitated by the African Union, which was last year changed to an UN-AU Hybrid Mission.
The Burundian troops currently in the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), a UN approved regional peacekeeping mission, also went through RDF schools as well as some members of the Somali’s army.
Apart from helping train some officers of the Somali army and police, Rwanda has also signed an agreement with Liberia to help rebuild the latter’s armed forces.