By Our Foreign News Correspondent
DAILYNEWS UG |Kigali, Rwanda|
President Paul Kagame and the Commander in Chief of Rwanda’s armed forces on Tuesday joined Rwanda Defence Force (RDF)’s Combined Arms Field Training Exercise.
Held at the Rwanda Defence Forces Combat Training Centre in Gabiro, Eastern Province, the exercise marked the conclusion of the final phase of the annual Combined Arms Field Training Exercise codenamed “EXERCISE HARD PUNCH III/2018”.
Held early afternoon after a drizzle, the drills was marked by a demonstration on how different military capabilities are integrated and synchronised during a military operation at the level of an Infantry Division.
The exercise is aimed at perfecting drills that are necessary for efficient employment, harbouring, occupation of positions, movement of division troops and equipment as well as cooperation of all arms in any military operational situation.
The hard punch exercise concluded Tuesday is the third edition of the annual Field Training Exercise conducted in Gabiro.
The annual exercise normally concludes with a meeting between the Commander in Chief with senior command staff of the Rwanda Defence Forces.
This is the third edition of the annual Field Training Exercise. The last one was held on 10 November 2017.
“I also want to thank you because this job you have chosen of protecting citizens, requires more from you than what you are given, in terms of salary or means available to us but it does not stop you from doing the work we do.
You work under the sun, the rain, in the middle of forests and different environments and we ask ourselves whether what we give you is enough. The answer is that it can never be enough because this job goes beyond the individual, it is for the nation.
What we do requires of us more than we have but it means that every resource we have is used to deliver to our maximum ability. Every bullet you shoot counts. Every resource you use must accomplish its purposes. We do not have room to waste. We have to deliver results beyond the resources we have.
Nothing is impossible as long as we have the right midnset and values.Our ennemies can only wish us ill but they will never be able to defeat us. Anyone who dares to threaten our security will fail.”
-President Kagame | RDF Combined Arms Field Training Exercise | Gabiro, 11 December 2018
Kagame recounted his previous battles which he said were won by determination.
“We used to go to the battlefield with 10 bullets in our gun, our enemies had maybe 100. But to win the war you do not need 100 bullets. When the bullets are done, you are the one left standing to accomplish the mission,” said Kagame.
The specialized training exercise comes days after an attack on Rwandan territory by suspected elements of FDLR, a militia whose leadership planned and executed the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
At least four FDLR militants were gunned down on Sunday.
Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Spokesperson Lt Col Innocent Munyengango said the attack was carried out by “people we suspect to be FDLR who attacked from Congo.”
“They attacked our post in Cyamabuye. Fortunately they found our forces ready and were repulsed. They lost four of their members in the process, and a Kalashnikov rifle,” he added.
The FDLR usually carry out attacks on Rwandan territory and today’s military exercise does not appear to be in any way connected to the incident.
Addressing combatants, Kagame said, “Nothing is impossible as long as we have the right mindset and values,” adding, “Our enemies can only wish us ill but they will never be able to defeat us.”
Kagame fought in the NRA war that brought President Museveni to power. He would later lead the PRF guerillas to take power in Rwanda in 1994, ending the genocide.
The Rwandan army also fought in several wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“You work under the sun, the rain, in the middle of forests and different environments, and we ask ourselves whether what we give you is enough,” said Kagame.
“The answer is that it can never be enough because this job goes beyond the individual, it is for the nation.”
A combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different combat arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects – for example, using infantry and armor in an urban environment, where one supports the other, or both support each other.
A similar exercise was last held in November, 2017, demonstrating how different capabilities are integrated and synchronized during a military operation at the level of an Infantry Division.
Most countries in the region have practiced specialized combined arms exercises to test their forces’ ability to complement each other in a military operation.
Kagame told the soldiers that, “What you have showed us here today is proof that you are capable of dealing with those who wish ill to our nation. There is no room for them to succeed with the courage, determination and the skills we have within us.”
Rwanda continues to face significant security threats from DRC where several armed groups are based.
President Pierre Nkurunziza recently described Rwanda as an “enemy country” for reportedly destabilizing Burundi – a claim Kigali has vehemently denied.
Kagame said “even when we will have achieved the level of prosperity we are working for, we will not be ones to waste resources. It will only add to our ability to deliver, not our willingness to waste.”
“Every bullet you shoot counts. Every resource you use must accomplish its purposes. We do not have room to waste. We have to deliver results beyond the resources we have.”
He said today’s evolving world, bravery and dedication are not enough but the foundation.
“You have to seek knowledge and do your job to the best of your ability. That is what makes a qualified army,” said Kagame, emphasising, “Your dedication and bravery is what gives our citizens safety and the reason we are here today.”
For more photos: https://www.flickr.com/…/paulkagame/albums/72157676578204208