A Formed Police Unit (FPU) hybrid contingent of 240 police officers returned home, yesterday, after a year-long successful tour-of-duty under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The contingent headed by Chief Supt. Francis Muheto arrived at Kigali International Airport (KIA) at about 3pm where they were received by Commissioner of Police (CP) Emmanuel Butera, the commissioner for Operations and Public Order.
Their arrival came hours after they were replaced by the same number, who left for the peacekeeping duty earlier in the day.
CP Butera thanked them for the professional conduct and successful mandate.
Chief Supt. 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... with one hurt. 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," Chief Supt. Muheto said.
The officers were deployed in Malakal where they were mainly charged with protecting internally displaced persons, a duty that has been taken up by their successors.
"United Nations 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.
Meanwhile, the deployed hybrid, the third of its kind since the maiden deployment in South Sudan in 2015, is under the command of Chief Supt. Charles Butera.
While addressing the media before departure at Kigali International Airport, the deputy contingent commander of the deployed contingent, Senior Supt. Victor Rubamba, said that "this is a peacekeeping duty that we have been well prepared to take and to continue to build from the achievements realised by those we are replacing."
"We were well prepared and equipped as men and women to operate in uneven conditions. It's no longer a duty of males only; female officers have also demonstrated that what men can do even females can," SSP Rubamba said.
"We are going as Rwandans, and that speaks volume... to protect the image of our force and our country, maintaining discipline and teamwork, which are essential for a successful mission," SSP Rubamba added.
Rwanda maintains two FPU contingents of 400 police officers in total.