Senior military officials from the East African Community (EAC) partner states, among others, yesterday began an International Military Observers Course, at Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA) Nyakinama, Musanze District.
The course, which is accredited by the United Nations, has also attracted trainees from Malawi and Australia.
Twenty-two officers are from Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF).
The three-week training, the first of its kind to be hosted in Rwanda, is supported by the Australian government through the Australian Defence Force Peace Operation Training Centre (POTC).
The Chief of Staff of RDF Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Ceaser Kayizari, said the officers involved in peace support operations needed maximum preparations in terms of knowledge, skills and attitude.
“Our countries contribute military contingents and other components in support of peace missions under UN and AU operations. Needless to say, support from military observers is very important,” Kayizari noted. The course will be facilitated by instructors from Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“We are aware that the contemporary operating environment is becoming more complex and volatile; these complexities challenge our traditional beliefs, military observers will always face matters that offer no clear cut solution,” Kayizari added.
Rwanda maintains peacekeepers in Sudan, South Sudan, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Haiti.
Speaking during the function, Geoff Tooth, the Australian High Commissioner in Rwanda, said that it was vital that countries share their experience in security and stability operations, as peacekeeping is becoming more complex.
“We share interests in a secure global environment as today’s security threats transcend borders and continents. It is extremely important that civilian, police, military and community actors work together to build sustainable peace’’ Geoff said
The Acting Director of Rwanda Peace Academy-Nyakinama, Brig. Gen Innocent Kabandana, said the objective of the course was embedded in the core mission of the academy, which is to “train and educate people in area of peace building.”
At the end of the training, participants will be qualified to serve as UN military observers.
This is the first time the 29-year old POTC, which has been focusing on Asia-Pacific, has ventured into Africa.