A Formed Police Unit (FPU) hybrid contingent of 240 police officers has returned home after a one-year tour of duty under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The officers had been deployed in Malakal where they were mainly charged with protecting internally displaced persons.
The contingent headed by chief supt. Francis Muheto arrived at Kigali International Airport (KIA) on Wednesday at about 3pm and were received by Emmanuel Butera, the commissioner for Operations and Public Order.
A few hours earlier, the unit that replaces them, also 240 strong, had left for their peacekeeping duty.
Butera thanked the unit for its professional conduct and successful mandate.
Muheto said that despite the mission challenges, “we were trained and equipped to face and persevere in such situations.”
“We are happy that we have all come back home safe. We have come back home with dignity having accomplished the task our country sent us to do, which is protecting and ensuring safety of those affected by conflicts in South Sudan,” Muheto said.
“UN missions bring together peacekeepers from different countries but with the same purpose of restoring and maintaining safety, security, stability and peace. We worked well with other peacekeepers, but putting forward the Rwandan values of discipline, professional conduct and respect,” he added.
The replacing unit which left on Wednesday is the third Rwandan mission of its kind in South Sudan.
“This is a peacekeeping duty that we have been well prepared for and we will build on the achievements of those we are replacing,” said the deputy contingent commander of the deployed contingent, senior supt. Victor Rubamba. “We are well prepared and equipped as to operate in uneven conditions.”
“We are going as Rwandans to protect the image of our force and our country, maintaining discipline and teamwork, which are essential for a successful mission,” he added.
Rwanda maintains two FPU contingents of 400 police officers in total.