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PHOTOS: President Kagame Oversees Finale Of RDF “Hard Punch” Exercise

by Edmund Kagire
5:34 am

President Kagame looks through the binoculars to get close to the action during Hard Punch exercise. Photos/Urugwiro Village.

President Paul Kagame, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) on Thursday oversaw the final field exercise of the Combined Arms Field Training Exercise code-named “Exercise Hard Punch 04/2023”, that had been going on at RDF Combat Training Centre, Gabiro.

The Head of State was welcomed at the Eastern Province-based military facility by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lt. Gen Mubarakh Muganga as well as other senior officials, including the Minister of Defence, Juvenal Marizamunda.

After attending the final field demonstration, President Kagame, who was the guest of honour, interacted with men and women of the RDF, including active and retired senior officers.

The highly anticipated “Hard Punch” exercise is normally conducted by the RDF 1st and 3rd  division and is characterized by a final operational demonstration on how different military capabilities are integrated and synchronized, during a military operation at the level of an Infantry Division.

The last of its kind happened in December 2018 and previously in November 2016. The Commander-in-Chief uses the opportunity to talk to the armed men and women in uniform about patriotism, heroism and professionalism.

This was the fourth edition of the annual Field Training Exercise conducted at CTC Gabiro. The exercise is aimed at perfecting drills that are necessary for efficient employment, harboring, occupation of positions, movement of Division troops/equipment and cooperation of all arms in any military operational situation.

An RDF helicopter conducts a mock attack. The exercise involves heavy artillery and ammunition.

Money well spent: The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana and Paula Ingabire Musoni, Minister ICT & Innovation applaud the display by RDF.

The exercise seeks to test how far RDF has gone in building an increasingly capable and professional force, able to achieve its mandated mission, with the main objective being to test and assess the synchronised delivery of joint fires using various capabilities in a single operation.

The military drill also sought to demonstrate the joint planning, synchronisation and coordinated employment of air power, Special Forces and offensive support group capabilities in supporting an infantry division to achieve a combat mission.

The exercise was displayed on a huge screen.

RDF Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ronald Rwivanga briefs the attendees about the exercise.

Senior and retired members of the RDF were present.

President Kagame used the opportunity to give a pep talk to members of RDF on the values of protecting and defending the nation.

President Kagame addresses members of the RDF.

The morale was high.

President Kagame chats with RDF senior command.

President Kagame clad in RDF Commander-in-Chief uniform.

President Kagame salutes back upon reception by Lt. Gen Muganga, CDS.

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