The first batch of equipment to be used by the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) contingent destined for the United Nations Mission to the Sudan (UNMIS) was yesterday loaded onto a UN cargo plane for shipment to Khartoum, Sudan.
According to Lt.Col. Charles Karamba, the RDF Director of Research and Development, the contingent under the command of Maj. Joseph Kalegire will comprise 254 soldiers, who are to serve at the Headquarter Company of the UNMIS in Khartoum. Karamba gave a detailed account of the role the contingent would play while in Khartoum.
"The soldiers will be charged with the United Nation's VIP protection, they will engage in clerical jobs for the mission, will be charged with the protection of the mission headquarters in general, and some will provide Level One medications in the mission hospitals," he said.
"What we are doing today and in a few days to follow is to airlift the necessary equipment for the mission. These include all the armory and other utensils or materials that our soldiers will require," Karamba added.
He pointed out that unlike the Darfur mission, the UN mission in Khartoum was to last for a period of more than six years adding however, that the RDF has a stipulated time-frame in which a soldier can serve on foreign missions.
"Our policy here has been clear on UN missions; we have a law that allows a force in question to serve for only six months then it is immediately withdrawn to allow another force to be deployed. We have done this in Darfur and I can assure you the policy will not change with Khartoum," he clarified. Karamba also disclosed that the soldiers would be airlifted in two weeks time.
"After all the necessary equipment has reached the base, then we shall start shipping the soldiers to effectively start their assignment," he added.