The first batch of Rwanda Defence Forces who were serving on the UN peace keeping mission in South Sudan returned, yesterday morning, as the rotation exercise of the troops kicked off.
The 292 rank and file of peacekeepers served for nine months. They arrived after completing their tour of duty as part of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and a similar number departed to replace them yesterday.
Maj. Gen Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, the Army Chief of Staff, challenged the new team to maintain high degree of discipline in the execution of their daily activities.
"Everybody should know his or her role to make sure that our flag continues to rise," he said.
Kamanzi also commended returnees for their operations, saying that they should be prepared to resume their work in the country.
The rotation exercise, which will take one week, will see 850 RDF officers returning and a similar number replacing them.
The Rwandan officers and men will be deployed in the towns of Yambio, Tumbura, Torit and Juba, the capital city where their colleagues have been operating from.
The deployed 47 Battalion will be commanded by Col. David Bukenya and will replace the 3 Battalion which was commanded by Brig. Gen Andrew Kagame.
The mission was set up in 2011 by the UN Security Council to help consolidate peace and security in the world's youngest nation.
On July 9, last year, South Sudan became the newest country in the world after seceding from Sudan.
The birth of the Republic of South Sudan was the culmination of a six-year peace process which began with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.
The peacekeeping mission has a mandate to consolidate peace and security and to help establish conditions for development.
Rwanda is the sixth leading contributor to UN peacekeepers, with more than 3,200 troops in the United Nations African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur, and 850 with the UNMISS.
The country also maintains about 500 police officers in peacekeeping missions in Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Sudan, and South Sudan and Ivory Coast.