Rwanda: Fallen Peacekeepers Honoured
The New Times (Rwanda), 31 May 2012, by James Karahanga
Four Rwandan peacekeepers who passed away last year in the line of duty have been awarded with posthumous medals by the United Nations.
The medals were delivered by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, to Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, on Tuesday.
The fallen soldiers, who were honoured with the Dag Hammarskjöld medal, died while serving under various UN missions.
On Tuesday, May 29, the world marked the annual International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, which honours the memory of UN peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving in UN peacekeeping missions.
The fallen Rwandan peacekeepers include; Private Samuel Ntakirutimana; Corporal John Twahirwa, both of whom served under the UN-AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID); and Sergeant Serge Kamari (Police), who was serving with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
The fourth, a civilian, Violette Kabatesi, served with the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).
According to a statement from the Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations, member states and non-governmental organisations held solemn events, including a wreath-laying ceremony and medal parade, at the UN Headquarters in New York in honour of fallen peacekeepers.
“In the past year, 112 peacekeepers have given their lives in the service of peace, not including 31, who have died since 2012,” reads part of the statement.
“Since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, more than 2,990 military, police, and civilian personnel have lost their lives as a result of acts of violence, accidents, and disease.”
Rwanda is among 33 countries whose fallen citizens were honoured during the event.
The event was also attended by Rwanda’s Military Attaché to the UN Col. Vincent Nyakarundi.
There are more than 3,200 Rwandan peacekeepers serving under UNAMID, whose Force Commander is Rwanda’s Lt Gen Patrick Nyamvumba.
This year, Rwanda Defence Forces deployed 850 peacekeepers in South Sudan under a new mission – the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The country also maintains peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Haiti.