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Rwanda defence force

The meaning of «rwanda defence force»

The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF, Kinyarwanda: Ingabo z'u Rwanda, French: Forces rwandaises de défense, Swahili: Nguvu ya Ulinzi ya Watu wa Rwanda) is the national army of Rwanda. The country's armed forces were originally known as the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR), but following the Rwandan Civil War of 1990-94 and the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the victorious Rwandan Patriotic Front (Inkotanyi) created a new organization and named it Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). Later, it was renamed to its current name.

The Rwanda Defence Force’s mission as provided in the Constitution of Rwanda is:

After it conquered the country in July 1994 in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide of April to July 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) decided to split into a political division (which retained the RPF name) and a military division, which would serve as the official army of the Rwandan state.

Defence spending continues to represent an important share of the national budget, largely due to continuing security problems along Rwanda's frontiers with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, and lingering concerns about Uganda's intentions towards its former ally.

There is an ongoing, low-level insurgency from Rwandan rebels based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mainly the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (or FDLR).

The RDF is regularly deployed in peacekeeping missions in Africa. Rwanda is now one of the largest contributors of personnel on UN missions.

While Rwanda was a Belgian colony administered as a part of Ruanda-Urundi, its security was provided by the Force Publique, the colonial army of the Belgian Congo. As the Congo was due to achieve independence in 1960 and withdraw its forces, the Belgian Special Resident decided to create an indigenous army to provide for Rwanda's security. On 19 May 1960 he ordered the recruitment of a 650-strong military force to become the Garde Territoriale. The force was later renamed the Garde Nationale.[5] The U.S. Army's Area Handbook for Rwanda, compiled in 1968–9, describes the security forces of Rwanda in 1969 as the 2,500 strong National Guard and the National Police, about 1,200 strong.[6]

The Forces armées rwandaises (FAR) was the national army of Rwanda until July 1994, when the government collapsed in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and the war with the Rwandan Patriotic Front/(Inkotanyi). The FAR was estimated at 7,000 strong, including approximately 1,200 members of the Gendarmerie. Elite troops included the Presidential Guard, estimated at between 1,000 and 1,300 troops, as well as the Paracommando and Reconnaissance units.[7] These two units were of battalion strength by 1994, and then counted a total of 800 troops.[8]

In response to the RPF invasion of 1990, the 5,000-man FAR rapidly expanded, with French training assistance (as many as 1,100 French troops were in Rwanda at a time[9]), to some 30,000 by 1992.[10]

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