The Republic of Rwanda - its small size notwithstanding - is a giant of peacekeeping. The central African country certainly pulls its weight when it comes to global UN peacekeeping operations. Reason for MINUSCA to hold a medal parade today in Bangui for members of the Rwandan military contingent for their service to peacekeeping in the Central African Republic.
One of the founding members of the United Nations, and currently ranking third among top troop contributing countries, Rwanda promptly answered the UN call for peacekeeping in the Central African Republic - sending military and police contingents to MINUSCA right from the mission's inception.
"You represent a noticeable and remarkable commitment of the Republic of Rwanda to global peace and stabilization," stated the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Mission Head Mankeur Ndiaye during the ceremony. He noted that no fewer than 6,650 "daughters and sons of Rwanda" had put their skills and professionalism to service - sometimes at the risk of their lives - in 14 peacekeeping operations and missions in four countries since March 2005.
Deployed to Bangui in 28 February 2019, the 750-strong contingent (717 men and 33 women) honoured today has conducted various operations to facilitate the implementation of the MINUSCA mandate and restore state authority: they have ensured the security of high-level authorities and secured strategic sites in the capital city. They have furthermore manned security posts in the 3rd and 5th districts of Bangui to prevent inter-communal clashes; conducted patrols to eliminate criminality and protect civilians - most recently in the PK5 district as part of the Bangui Joint Task Force; and carried out civic and community work - notably the distribution of over 615,000 litres of water to the local population.
"A culture of hard work and discipline has enabled us to deter violence and killings among communities while applying the principle of impartiality," said contingent commander Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Ntazinda. He highlighted that despite difficulties along the way, no contingent members had lost their lives, were injured or repatriated.
The MINUSCA chief expressed his deep gratitude for the contingent's actions in the service of peace: "You have carried the values of the United Nations high in a highly perilous context; and have earned the respect of your brothers in arms, your Central African counterparts and the civilian population."