BANGUI, 3 January 2021 – The New Times newspaper has gained rare access and reported on the activities of Rwanda’s “force protection troops” deployed earlier this month to the Central African Republic (CAR).
The 850 troops under this unit arrived CAR last December 20 under a bilateral agreement, according to Rwandese President Paul Kagame.
President Kagame said the force’s mandate is to protect Rwandan peacekeepers in CAR.
Kigali has explained that the deployment became necessary after Rwandan forces among the UN continent got attacked by armed rebels.
A reporter from The New Times last Saturday visited a base of the Special Forces in the town of Bimbo, 12 km southwest of the CAR capital, Bangui.
The troops in Bimbo are not part of Rwanda’s larger peacekeeping contingent serving under the United Nations, a report published Saturday by The New Times confirmed.
“These special forces contributed to ensuring that peaceful and secure elections were held on December 27,” writes the Kigali-based The New Times newspaper.
Initial results for the presidential and parliamentary elections are expected to be released next January 4.
The New Times explains that Rwandan special forces “may perform… airborne operations, counter insurgency function, counter terrorism, foreign internal defense, covert ops, direct action, hostage rescue, high-value targets/manhunt, intelligence operations, mobility operations, and unconventional warfare”.
Members of the 850-person-strong special forces have been deployed to other locations of the Central African Republic, The New Times reported.
According to the paper, the special forces contributed to securing the recent poll and one of their assignments in the town of Damara is “securing President Faustin Archange Touadera’s rural home”.
They are credited with driving rebel forces out of several towns, incljuding the town of Dekoa, and helping return UN peacekeepers to maintain the peace there.