Rwandese police unit in Malakal awarded medals for peacekeeping services

30 Oct 2018

Rwandese police unit in Malakal awarded medals for peacekeeping services

Janet Adongo

White gloves were raised high in well-synchronized moves as police officers belonging to the Rwandese Formed Police Unit marched in seamless coordination. The officers zig-zagged and turned their heads one way or the other in response to the orders of their parade commander – all without missing a beat.

The parading officers are part of a team of over two hundred personnel who recently received medals of honor for their service with the UN mission in South Sudan. The medal award ceremony was attended by state governor James Munybuny, his deputy, division commanders of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, the police commissioner and other senior government officials.

“We inherited a more stable environment though it has remained unpredictable,” said the Rwandan commanding officer Charles Butera. “During our deployment here, we worked closely with all security partners and civilian components to help provide a secure environment to efficiently and effectively accomplish our mission.”

Earlier this year, Rwanda sent its first ever police unit consisting of 50 per cent female officers to South Sudan. Chief guest Girmay Gebrekidan, who serves as the UN Police Chief of Staff, alluded to Rwanda’s positive contribution since they began sending troops to peacekeeping missions in 2005.

“When it comes to solving conflict and peace building we can learn very important lessons from Rwanda. They inherently understand the pain of violent conflict and have successfully managed to build a strong nation, contributing and sending agents of peace to other places around the world,” he said.

The members of the Rwandan Formed Police Unit in South Sudan’s second largest town Malakal are tasked with the protection of civilians, challenge they undertake alongside individual police officers from a variety of countries.

Additionally, the Rwandan police officers have since the start of 2018 been involved in conducting numerous cordon and search operations, and patrols in Malakal town to build the confidence of people returning to settle in the area. The unit is at the tail-end of their yearlong mission here.