Wednesday, April 29, 2009

General Karake leaving Darfur mission

By Rwanda News Agency Reporter
April27, 2009

Kigali: After two controversial years at the helm of the peace keeping missions in Sudan, Rwandan General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake has finalized his tour – ending another turbulent chapter in relations between the UN and Kigali, RNA reports.

Major-General Karenzi, 49, moved from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in 2007 to deputise on the UN mission there in January 2008. But that promotion did not go unchallenged.

A Brussels-based Rwandan exile group accused him of supervising extra-judicial killings of civilians before and after the current government took power in Rwanda following the country's 1994 genocide. The UN headquarters was caught between the controversy as Rwanda got firm backing from the Bush administration demanding that his contract is stayed without any changes.

The United States, Britain and Rwanda urged U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon to renew Karenzi's contract after it was to expire in October last year. President Kagame also threatened to pull all Rwandan troops from the troubled region “the same day Karake leaves”.

It is not clear if the Generals’ contract has ended or he has been forced out by the circumstances. He is to be replaced by South African Major-General Duna Dumisani.

On Wednesday, General Karake travelled to the West Darfur town of Zalingei where he attended a medal parade for the Rwandan Battalion serving in the area, according to a statement from the mission. Rwanda has about 2600 personnel in the region.

He commended the Rwandan troops for their noble service to the Mission and declared that it was a great pride for him to see that, just 15 years after the genocide in Rwanda.

He expressed appreciation to the troops for their work, urged them to continue serving with a high level of professionalism and integrity according to their mandated tasks, and reminded them to respect the culture, religion and customs of the population.

Meanwhile, during the past 72-hours, the mission reports that the security situation in Darfur has been relatively calm.

A UN vehicle was carjacked over the weekend near Zalingei airstrip and was later recovered by government Police on the same day, 9 km south east of Zalingei without any tyres. The vehicle was taken to Zalingei Police station after getting tyres from UNAMID Transport section.

UNAMID says it has conducted 24 confidence building patrols, 33 escort patrols and 7 night patrols covering 55 villages/IDP Camps. Similarly, UNAMID police conducted 95 patrols in and around the IDP camps and a total of 29 patrols in and around the villages.

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