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Rwanda army ready to deploy helicopters in Darfur


14:07, November 16, 2011

KIGALI, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Rwanda Air Force has started a training program to prepare 140 officers, including pilots, technicians, maintenance officers and air logistics staff, for deployment to the AU-UN hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), according to a statement released late Monday by the Rwandan Ministry of Defense.

"Rwanda will deploy early next year five helicopters in Sudan for peacekeeping operations," the statement said.

The three-week program is jointly organized by the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) and the U. S. Army under the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program.

Managed and funded by the U. S. Department of State, ACOTA is an initiative designed to improve African ability to respond quickly to crises by providing selected militaries with the training and equipment required to execute humanitarian or peace support operations.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has previously expressed displeasure over the inability of UNAMID to secure some "crucial equipment," including helicopters, for its effective operations.

Rwanda has over 3,000 troops in Sudan.

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