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How Rwanda Army Saved Burundi Army Unit From Annihilation in CAR

Social media is awash with unending arguments after it emerged that a Burundian army unit under a multidimensional UN Peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) may have been completely wiped out by rebels but were saved by Rwanda Special Forces.

Rwanda and Burundi have for the past five years been engrossed in a near frozen diplomatic relationship. And Burundi has been repeatedly launching some unsuccessful attacks what experts consider as an attempt to lure the Rwandan side into war.

Therefore this heroic and very professional rescue mission by Rwanda Special Forces in Central Africa is news that would not just pass without the citizens of these brotherly neighbours discussing.

A local Rwandan publication New Times, gave a rare glimpse into the operations of Rwanda’s Special Forces in this troubled country after they were recently swiftly deployed there to secure the country especially ensuring smooth elections and the aftermath.

Rwanda Special Forces in Central Africa are not part of the multidimensional UN Peacekeeping mission there but on a totally different assignment since December 20, 2020, under a bilateral agreement on defense. These forces are very mobile and deployed in different locations around the country.

The elections were held on December 27 although several polling stations were attacked by rebels and ransacked.

About 800 of a total of 5,408 polling stations nationwide did not open after the rebels attacked voters and barred electoral staff, the electoral commission said.

For example, last week on Friday the rebels attacked domestic security forces and the MINUSCA mission in Dekoa, Kemo prefecture, and Bakouma in Mbomou prefecture.

The New Times continues in its reportage that on Christmas morning, the rebels attacked Burundian peacekeepers’ and CAR troops in Dekoa, central Kemo prefecture. At this time, the Rwandan Special Forces were about 70km away moving to north, from Sibut.

The Rwandan Special Forces immediately swung into action and chased away the rebels, “They were not able to save the lives of 3 Burundian peacekeepers but they saved the entire Burundian unit from annihilation,” according to this publication.

The publication added that after securing Dekoa, the Rwandan special forces escorted the UN peacekeepers back to their base in Dekoa and continued their northern journey by road to  Batangafo, through Kaga-Bandoro, a market town in the Nana-Grébizi prefecture.

Details by the UN indicate that the rebels were estimated to number about 100, “Three peacekeepers from Burundi were killed and two others were wounded,” the UN statement said, without providing further details.

This surprise attack was hours after a rebel coalition fighting the government called off a unilateral truce and reiterated calls for the suspension of a general election.

The gunmen had sought to advance down the main highways towards Bangui but were stopped, according to MINUSCA, which has more than 12,500 uniformed troops in the Central African Republic.

Meanwhile, on Saturday according to Ndeke Luka a local radio station, the Rwandan Special Forces attacked and killed 8 rebels and captured two of them in the latest intense fighting in the region.

On 10 April 2014 the UN Security Council authorized deployment of a multidimensional United Nations peacekeeping operation – MINUSCA – with the protection of civilians as its utmost priority in the Central African Republic.

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