The New Times (Kigali)

10 July 2012

Rwandan Artistes Perform for Peacekeepers in Darfur

Artistes Jean Paul Samputu, Massamba Intore, Miss Shannel, Mani Martin and Pianist Mico Marcel last week treated Rwandan peacekeepers in Sudan's troubled Darfur region to a live music concert.

Rwanda has over 3,200 peacekeepers deployed in Darfur under the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), in addition to 200 Police advisors.

Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, UNAMID Joint Special representative, Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba, Force Commander and other high ranking UNAMID civilian, military and police officials attended the music gala.

In an e-mail to The New Times, on Monday, Lt. Gen. Nyamvumba, said: "It was good, not only for the troops, but also for the Rwandan community in Darfur which includes the military, police and civilians. Besides the Rwandan Community, it was attended by about 1000 people from different parts of the world."

"This is the first group of artistes has performed in Darfur at least since the violence started here 10 years ago."

According to statement from the Rwandan contingent in El Fasher, on Thursday, the Rwandan peacekeepers in Darfur celebrated Rwanda's 50 years independence anniversary and 18 years of liberation, "in style."

From 7pm in the evening to midnight, the compound of Rwanbatt 33 in El Fasher "was the scene of excitement and jubilation" as around 1,000 people of different nationalities had turned up to enjoy the live music performance by the five Rwandan artistes.

A reportedly jubilant UNAMID crowd was treated to such great hits as Mani martin's Urukumbuzi, Miss Shannel's Ndarota, Masamba's Nyeganyega and Samputu's Nimuze Tubyine.

On Friday evening, a "restricted Rwandans-only" gala was organised in the mess hall of Rwanbatt 33.

Peacekeepers danced to live music which included "emotional songs" of the 1990-1994 liberation war period.

Rwandan military and police peacekeepers had flown in from all corners of Darfur to enjoy the concert.

After dinner, Lt. Gen. Nyamvumba thanked the musicians for having accepted the invitation to come to Darfur and perform for the Rwandan peacekeepers and UNAMID personnel.

He reminded the audience that it was such spirit of commitment and solidarity which made it possible for the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) to liberate Rwanda in 1994. Lt. Gen. Nyamvumba noted that it is the same spirit that has made Rwandan peacekeepers respected in Darfur and beyond.

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