The New Times (Kigali)

23 October 2012

Rwanda: Botswana Defence College Students On Study Tour

A delegation of 25 officers from the Botswana Defence Command and Staff College is in Rwanda for a week-long "geo-strategic regional tour" aimed at enhancing bilateral military relations.

Speaking to reporters at the RDF headquarters yesterday, Col. Thomamo Makolo, the Staff Coordinator at the Botswana College, said that his institution has "a good working relationship" with the Rwanda defence Forces (RDF).

"We have toured many other regions, especially in SADC (Southern Africa Development Community), taking our students all around, but now we decided that we should come to the east. Rwanda was the first choice because of the good relationship," Makolo said, noting that his team included 17 students and eight members of the directing staff.

Another group is slated to visit Kenya under the same programme.

"Within the course of study, there is a strategic studies course and that is why we go around African countries to add on to our programmes."

"We do not just do military courses because the military is not only for war. We study economics, international relations of countries and other issues. We visited the Genocide memorial and learnt a lot."

Rwanda's Military and Defence Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, said, "We organised this programme so that the visiting officers can be able to have a feel of what Rwanda is".

The delegation will tour RDF activities and projects as well as other national development initiatives.

They will also visit border areas to see socio-economic and political status of the country.

A visit to the DRC-Rwanda border will help the visitors have a feel of how "definitely, lack of security in a neighbouring country can affect regional security," Brig. Gen. Nzabamwita said.

According to Nzabamwira, relations between the two armies were boosted following last year's exchanges of visits between Lt Gen. Tebogo Masire, the Botswana defence chief, and his Rwandan counterpart, Lt. Gen Charles Kayonga.

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