Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has authorised deployment of more troops to conflict stricken Central Africa Republic.
The last boots of the 140 special police forces were airlifted from Kigali International Airport, Rwanda’s capital, on September 10, aboard a UN plane.
Stefan Feller, Director of UN Police Division, inspected the troops September 12, ahead of the Monday’s re-hatting ceremony as the UN takes over the currently African Union-backed mission.
The special forces, who are part of Rwanda’s elite Police Unit’ (RWAFPU), are commanded by a veteran in conflict zones, Chief Supt. Benoit Kayijuka.
During the guard of honour, the UN Police boss, Stefan Feller, praised Rwanda’s contribution in restoring security and peace in CAR. “You are trusted by the population,” he said.
The contingent will be stationed in CAR’s capital, Bangui to conduct patrols, ensure protection of VIPs, key installations and other escort duties.
“My relations with Rwanda Police is very intense and long-standing,” he said on Friday. The UN says Rwandan troops are well trained, highly professional and in good position to accomplish special missions.
The UN is currently gripped with growing demand to address increased conflicts and unrest in various countries such as Central Africa, Mali, Sudan, Ukraine, and the Gaza strip among others.
Rwanda’s was the first country to send troops when conflicts erupted in the Central Africa Republic and S. Sudan. The country has deployed 4,650 Peacekeepers in various missions, and ranked 6th, globally among the biggest troop contributor in peacekeeping operations.
The elite police unit has more than 500 selected officers, 20% of them female, in eight countries including Haiti, S. Sudan, Liberia, Mali, and now CAR.
Rwanda National Police Spokesperson , Assistant Commissioner of Police, Damas Gatare said the deployment means “Rwanda’s troops are internationally recognized and trusted to restore peace and security in troubled zones.”
Rwanda’s exceptions lie in the commitment to protect civilians and build trust and relationship.
The US envoy to the UN, Samantha Power, told a rare UN Security Council meeting in July that Rwanda “knows what it takes to protect civilians,” referring to the country’s experience of the ‘catastrophic consequences’ of security going terribly wrong. “Rwandans understand the importance of getting peacekeeping right,” she said.
The UN has been providing up to $100m to the AU-led mission to Central Africa Republic.
By Magnus Mazimpaka.