The contingent of Rwandan troops and police that began deploying to Mozambique last Friday will only return home once its mission is accomplished, the Rwandan Defence and Military Spokesperson, Col Ronald Rwivanga, declared on Saturday.
Cited by the Rwandan paper “The New Times”, Rwivanga said, shortly after the departure of a RwandAir flight carrying members of the Joint Force headed to Mozambique, that they are going to work closely with the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) and forces from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in designated sectors of responsibility.
Asked how long the Rwandans will stay in Mozambique, he told the paper: “Our contingent is going to support efforts to restore Mozambican state authority by conducting combat and security operations, as well as stabilisation and security-sector reform (SSR). This contingent is not time-specific. Instead, it is mission-specific. We have a mission to carry out and when it is accomplished we shall come back home.”
Maj Gen Innocent Kabandana is heading the Joint Force of nearly 700 troops of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) troops and 300 officers of the Rwanda National Police (RNP).
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations, Felix Namuhoranye, on Friday met and briefed the police officers prior to their deployment in Mozambique. He urged them to be defined by discipline, respect and teamwork.
At the airport, on Saturday, Police Spokesperson John Bosco Kabera said the RNP contingent’s tasks are clear. He said: “We shall cooperate with local police in combatting terrorism in all our areas of operation. Second and most important is ensuring protection of civilians alongside the Mozambican police force.
“Third is ensuring a return to normalcy and helping the country’s police force in capacity building initiatives such as training.”, he declared.
Kabundana is a former commander of Rwandan Special Forces, with experence in fighting rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2020, he was appointed commander of the Rwanda Military Academy at Gako.