Rwanda, US forces in joint peace operations training
Rwanda Defense Forces in collaboration of United States of America under Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) on Monday started a two day training workshop on peacekeeping operations.
The training is aimed at reviewing the lessons learnt from the existing Peace Support Operations (PSO) and discuss possible way forward for the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program which is funded and managed by the U.S Department of State.
The initiative is designed to improve African militaries’ capabilities by providing selected training and equipment necessary for multinational peace support operations. U.S. Africa Command supports the ACOTA program by providing military mentors, trainers, and advisors at the request of the State Department.
Rwanda’s Chief of Defense Staff, Gen Patrick Nyamvumba stressed the importance of incorporating the lessons learnt from Rwanda’s experience in the various Peacekeeping Missions, and called on all the Officers to take this seriously as this is not another academic exercise.
Col (Rtd) Dr Timothy Rainey, Director of ACOTA at the US State Department hailed the Rwandan forces as among the most professional forces he has worked with on the African continent, and stated that the existing partnership is geared at establishing peace in troubled regions.
Since May 2004, Rwanda participates in different peacekeeping missions under African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), and the latest deployment being United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)- which is also a joint Rwanda-US operation that has so far played a major role in reconciling the community and rescuing victims of violence, just two weeks in the action.
Rwanda currently has more than 5,200 peacekeepers in various missions in Africa and abroad, and is presently ranked the 6th biggest troop contributor in peacekeeping operations in the world.