UNITED NATIONS ASSISTANCE MISSION IN RWANDA (UNAMIR)

UNAMIR was established by Security Council Resolution (1993) on 5 Oct 1993 to help implement the Arusha peace agreement signed by the Rwandese parties on 4 August 1993. Bangladesh Air Force personnel in UNAMIR played a very important role during the crisis, displaying tremendous courage and dedication in a very demanding and unfriendly situation in Rwanda.

In order to facilitate the UN deployment in Rwanda, a 10 member Bangladeshi MOVCON unit was redeployed from Mozambique to Rwanda (Kigali) on 12 November 1993, where 03 out of the 10 members were from BAF. Later on, BAF sent more 06xofficers to Rwanda, out of which 04xofficers were staff officers including Chief Air Support Officers (CASO) and 02xofficers as UNMO. After the killing of the President of Rwanda and Burundi on 6 April 1994, severe war broke out between the Hutu Govt Forces (RGF) and Tutsi Forces (RPF). Following the killing of the Belgian troops, Kigali became very unsafe even for the UN forces. Most of the UN Forces were repatriated, except those who were considered essential and chosen by the Force Commander Maj Gen Dallier.

Only 08 members of the Bangladeshi contingent were chosen to stay back at Rwanda out of which 03 members were from BAF. The CASO had to carry out a physical survey of all the airfields of Rwanda during the war, in order to find out and prepare an alternate air route to meet the crises in the event of Kigali airport closer, which was considered as the lifeline of the UNAMIR. When the Kigali airport was closed, the CASO coordinated and arranged movement in and out of Kigali through Uganda, combining road movement, helicopter lift and the C-130 flight together.

In short, that’s how BAF officers kept the lifeline of UNAMIR open during the most crucial period and immensely contributed to the success of the UNAMIR. The mandate of UNAMIR officially came to an end on 08 March 1996 and the withdrawal of the Mission was completed in April 1996. BAF detailed 13 x officers and 02 x airmen in this mission.