The United Nations, on Wednesday, March 15, awarded service medals to 424 Rwandan Police peacekeepers serving in its missions in South Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR).
At least 240 decorated officers of Rwanda Formed Police Unit One (RWAFPU-1) are operating in Malakal, Upper Nile State under the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Other 184 officers include 180, who constitute RWAFPU-II and four Police Advisors deployed in Kaga Bandoro, Nana Gribizi province under the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).
The medal pinning ceremonies were presided over by the UN Police Commissioners; Christine Fossen of UNMISS and Commissioner of Police (CP) Christophe Bizimungu of MINUSCA.
The ceremonies were also attended by members of other Police, military and civilian contributing countries, government officials, the local police and the local communities.
The two FPUs were deployed to protect civilians, create conducive environment for humanitarian assistance, monitor and investigate human rights violations, support the implementation of the peace process as well as escort duties, among others.
Madam Fossen reiterated Rwanda's commitment to peacekeeping particularly in South Sudan, and congratulated the decorated officers.
"Today, we recognize your hard work and sacrifice in the name of peace. You have been critical to the implementation of protection of civilians mandate and maintained day and night patrols in civilian sites," Madam Fossen said.
She added: "You are a strong pillar of the police contingent visibility patrols in Malakal, contributed to reinforce law and order while preventing criminality in civilian sites and providing confidence building mechanism for them to return to their homes."
The UNMISS Rwanda FPU-1 contingent commander, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Prudence Nirere Ngendahimana thanked the people of Malakal for their cooperation in peacekeeping matters.
"We have had good relations with the people of Malakal and particularly those under our protection. We thank the UNMISS, the leadership South Sudan Police for their support and facilitating us in our service to humanity," SSP Ngendahimana said.
Rwanda deployed the first contingent of FPU-1 to Malakal in 2015. The decorated officers constitute the 7th contingent, which was deployed in April last year.
In MINUSCA, the Head of Police component, CP Christophe Bizimungu thanked the decorated peacekeepers for their dedicated service to humanity.
"You have served selflessly; your dedication and sacrifice to peacekeeping provides safety to those displaced by conflicts," CP Bizimungu said.
Their service, he said, is also a pride to their country Rwanda.
The RWAFPU-II contingent commander, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Hodali Rwanyindo thanked the MINUSCA leadership for the support to execute their mandate.
Rwanda FPU-2 supported the local people with assorted agriculture tools and seeds, especially those displaced by conflicts and currently under their protection in Razaret Protection of Civilian (PoC) camp.
They also provided free medical services to at least 380 internally displaced persons, and planted trees as part of the environmental protection campaign.