Musanze, 5 May 2017
Every year, the Rwanda Defense Force Command and Staff College (RDFCSC) plans and organizes the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) Liberation War Study Tour for national students attending Senior Command and Staff Course (SCSC). The tour gives students opportunity to research on various battles and review operational challenges faced by RPA commanders during the Liberation War. It is in this regard that from 22 to 26 March 2017, the SCSC 05 students accompanied by the College leadership and faculty conducted the fore mentioned tour. The areas visited are KAGITUMBA, RYABEGA, GABIRO, NYAGATARE, KABUGA and KARAMA in the Eastern Province; MULINDI, BYUMBA, BUTARO, NYAMAGUMBA in the Northern Province; and the former CND (parliament building) in KIGALI CITY. Participants to the tour also comprised a number of former RPA and FAR commanders, both active and retired, as respondents to facilitate research and understanding for students seeking clarifications about the Liberation War on both sides.
The College considers the RPA Liberation War Study Tour as an important part of the course curriculum to disseminate RDF traditional values and impart knowledge about the planning and conduct of campaigns.
The purpose of the tour was to gain knowledge about the planning and conduct of RPA Liberation War and understand the key elements which led to victory of RPA against a stronger and internationally supported government force. Such knowledge will help RDF officers to emulate their predecessors and uphold the values of resilience, sacrifice and patriotism so much cherished by Rwandan military and society. The understanding of the RPA Liberation War will also help SCSC students to avoid pitfalls that were realized within the said war in their future planning and conduct of operations.
A group of respondents explained the initial stages of RPA Liberation War that begun on 1 October 1990 at KAGITUMBA.
The tour comprised a visit to “CND” where a number of interviews with former RPA and FAR Senior Officers were conducted specifically on the campaign against the genocide, from April to July 1994.
Interactive sessions where students had an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarifications about the RPA Liberation War were provided.
The discussions revolved around understanding the planning and conduct of operations and battles by both the belligerents, identifying major challenges both sides faced, and how they managed to overcome them.
Finally, students were privileged to meet with MoD and RDF leadership for a Q & A session. There is no doubt that the availability of strategic level insights coupled with operational and tactical levels respondents’ inputs contributed to the successful realization of the tour and significantly enhanced students understanding of the RDF culture and values and the historical lessons learnt for the future.