By: Steven Muvunyi | newtimes.co.rw
A total of 750 peacekeepers of the Rwandan contingent (RWABATT 2) serving under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), were Saturday decorated at their base in M’poko, Bangui.
This was during a ceremony that marked the end of 190 days characterised by good and loyal services of the contingent, presided over by Diane Corner, the deputy special representative of the UN secretary general.
Present also was General Balla Keita, the force commander of the MINUSCA, General Jacques Delapasse, France’s army chief of staff and Charles Kenguembat, the Minister Counsellor in the presidency who represented the interim president Catherine Samba-Panza.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col Egide Ndayizeye, the commander of the Rwandan contingent, expressed his joy and pride for receiving the medal of the United Nations with his comrades in arms.
He noted that the medal crowns the courage and selflessness that characterised the attitude of men and women committed to bring peace in the Central African Republic throughout the mission.
He commended the leadership of the MINUSCA for the wise directives that guided the decisions he made to secure and protect.
Lt. Col Ndayizeve also saluted the government and the people of Central African Republic for their collaboration and good will during difficult times and reiterated his determination to pursue the work begun with the same courage and commitment with new elements that will join the mission.
On behalf of the special representative of the UN secretary general and MINUSCA chief, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Ms. Diane Corner said “the new year 2016 starts hard but promises the best for Central African Republic.”
She noted that the success of the first round of the presidential election showed that Central Africans preferred elections to arms for the sake of peace.
She praised the contribution of MINUSCA forces in which the Rwandan contingent played the most distinguished role through its help in protecting civilians, protection of national leaders, its ability to mobilise local people in community services and its medical assistance that is highly appreciated in the town of Bria.
“For that commitment, accept my gratefulness, I am proud to give you this medal of the United Nations”, she said.
Minister Kenguembat saluted the memory of Rwandan soldiers who have died in Central African Republic and recognised Rwandan contingent whose participation in securing Bangui and its surroundings was crucial and significantly helped the elections take place safely.
Speaking on behalf of the president, Kenguembat paid tribute to the maturity and efficacy of the Rwandan contingent that proved its devotion, sacrifice and commitment in the valued service of the United Nations.
The ceremony was also marked by various traditional songs performed by a Rwandan cultural troupe. There were also theatrical demonstrations of martial arts by soldiers.
Today, Rwanda has 5000 soldiers and 917 police participating in different peacekeeping missions across the world.
For the MINUSCA, Rwanda deployed 770 soldiers, 70 military medics who stay in Bria and eight officers of the penitentiary police.
The second battalion of the Rwandan contingent arrived in Bangui on the 22 January 2015 and will leave in February this year.
RWABATT 2 is in charge of securing the capital Bangui and other parts of the Central African Republic, protecting high-profile figures and sensitive sites, establishing static guards and day and night patrol, conducting criminals’ arrests operations and dismantling illegally set up barricades.