Rwandan Defence Force soldiers continue with Darfur peacekeeping rotation


More than 500 Rwandan soldiers have left for the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan, as Rwanda continues to rotate its troops in the country.

A total of 534 personnel serving under the join United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur were flown out of Rwanda on Sunday. The operation proceeded with the departure of 267 officers and men from 4 Infantry Battalion in the morning, which left for a nine-month tour of duty with UNAMID in Sudan. A similar number of 75 Infantry Battalion returned home in the evening, according to Rwandan media.
4 Infantry Batallion, which will be named RWABATT 28, will deploy in Sector North with bases at Kapkabiya, Sartonda and Sarfumra in Sudan. Briefing the troops before leaving for the UNAMID mission, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Charles Kayonga said that he is very confident that the troops will perform their duty adequately.

He told them to keep in mind RDF values, professionalism and discipline “What you do has a big impact on the nation; we all have one mission. You have to work with passion and commitment. Think big, think wisely and work tirelessly. Your nation is counting on you.”
4 Infantry Battalion, led by Lieutenant Colonel Pascal Muhizi, is replacing 75 Infantry Battalion and will complete rotation on Thursday, which will be followed by the final battalions expected to complete the operation on 2nd August.

The first Rwanda soldiers were rotated on June 26, when 267 departed for Western Darfur, replacing a similar number who arrived back from the northern African nation.

Rwanda has four battalions deployed under the United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) comprising of over 3 200 soldiers. Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) troops have been deployed to Darfur since 2004.

Nearly forty nations have contributed military personnel and police to the mission, according to the United Nations. As of April 30, there are a total of 23 000 uniformed personnel taking part in UNAMID, including 17 200 troops, 225 military observers and 5 200 police officers.

The operation has been relatively dangerous, as 56 troops and 19 police officers have been killed in Darfur, according to the United Nations.