Rwanda will send a fourth
battalion (55th Battalion) to Sudan's Darfur region this month. Three Rwandan
Defense Force (RDF) battalions are already in Darfur. The fourth battalion is
being deployed as part of the African Union-UN "hybrid" force. It will serve in
the El Fasher sector. The lead elements of the battalion left by air for Darfur
on October 15th. The unit is trained to use light armored personnel carriers.
Currently 18 APCs slated for use by the 55th Battalion are already in Darfur.
October 11, 2007: The FNL faction which withdrew
from peace negotiations earlier this year has begun to fracture. The
PALIPEHUTU-FNL faction has divided into at least four groups. Three of the
groups are described as "dissidents" and all of them have indicated to the
government that they are interested in renewing peace negotiations. This could
be a break for the government, which has been trying to bring the
PALIPEHUTU-FNL into the peace process. If it can't bring to the organization to
the peace table, perhaps it can bring pieces (so to speak).
October 10, 2007: Between 1990 and 2001 the Rwandan
government spent $8.4 billion on weapons and military equipment, a lot of it
from Eastern Europe. Most of the money was spent on small arms and ammunition.
During this period the Rwandan economy grew by an average of 2.8 percent a
year. If the money spent on weapons had been invested, the economy may have
grown up to 4.5 percent a year. But tell that to the people involved. Much of
the money was spent from 1990 to 1994, when the then Hutu-led government was
fighting the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF, a predominantly Tutsi group). After
the Tutsi genocide in 1994, the RPF took power. It spent money on arms and
ammunition to fight Hutu rebels who had fled into the Congo. It also became
involved in the Congo's various wars.