Thursday, 16 May 2013

US boosts RDF peace keeping operations


Donald W. Koran (C), the US ambassador to Rwanda and Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, RDF Chief of Defence Staff inspect some of the equipment donated by the US government to the Rwanda Defence Forces yesterday.
The US government has donated logistical support equipment worth $1.2 million (Rwf767 million) to Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) to facilitate the forces’ peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.
The equipment includes among others computers, and satellite phones and catering equipment. 
According to the US Embassy in Kigali, the equipment is part of the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), a US government-funded security assistance programme.
The programme seeks to enhance international capacity to effectively conduct United Nations and regional peace operations by building partner country capabilities to train and sustain peacekeeping proficiencies.
“The donation is one of security assistance contributions that the US government has made to boost the RDF’s readiness as the force continues to conduct decisive peace keeping mission in Darfur and South Sudan,” said Donald W. Koran, the US ambassador to Rwanda after handing over the donation, at an event held yesterday at Kanombe Military Barracks in Kigali.
He stated that his government appreciates Rwanda’s commitment towards peace keeping operations. “We hope this field kitchen equipment will facilitate unit sustainment and provide efficient mission planning operations.”
Continued support 
Koran emphasised that his government was committed to supporting RDF to maintain the highest degree of professionalism, while executing global peacekeeping missions.
After receiving the equipment, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, RDF Chief of Defence Staff expressed gratitude to the US government for their continued support.
“We appreciate this support because it will compliment our effort in peace keeping missions. This is not the first time the US government supports RDF, in 2007, we received equipment worth $20 million,” he said.
Last December, the country deployed three aviation units to South Sudan, under the auspices of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The units constitute three helicopters with a crew of 18 personnel including pilots, co-pilots and technicians.
There are over 850 Rwandan soldiers deployed in the South Sudan.
The mission was set up in 2011 by the UN Security Council to help consolidate peace and security in the world’s youngest nation.


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