The Central African Republic yesterday enrolled 512 new soldiers into the force after completing five months of basic military training undertaken by Rwanda Defence Force instructors. Among the new soldiers, 49 are women.
The ceremony that took place at Bangui’s Camp Kassaï was presided over by Prof Faustin Archange Touadera, the President of Central African Republic and was attended by Maj Gen Wilson Gumisiriza, RDF Mechanised Division Commander on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff.
In a statement to the media after the ceremony, President Touadera thanked his counterpart, President Paul Kagame and Rwanda Defence for their support to stabilize Central African Republic.
Speaking during the event, the Rwandan Bilateral Contingent Commander, Col Alphonse Gahima said that the new soldiers were trained to become professionals and change makers in their country.
“I want to point out that the discipline, bravery, enthusiasm and stamina you’ve shown throughout your training are very reassuring for the work you’re about to do. For our part, as Instructors, we will continue to provide you with the support you need, to facilitate your learning and enable you to become professional soldiers worthy of the name, as requested by the leadership of FACA and RDF,” said Col Gahima.
Rwandan troops first deployed to CAR in January 2014. Rwanda now has more than 2,000 soldiers serving in CAR under the UN Peacekeeping mission. Rwanda also maintains more than 1000 soldiers deployed in CAR under bilateral agreement.
All photos by Olivier Mugwiza