SUDAN WATCH: 97 Rwandan troops to leave tomorrow for Darfur

Friday, October 29, 2004

97 Rwandan troops to leave tomorrow for Darfur

The U.S. Air Force will fly Rwandan troops into Darfur tomorrow (Saturday), joining just-arrived Nigerian soldiers.

"We've got three C-130s going tomorrow, carrying 97 Rwandan troops and equipment and supplies," U.S. Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Heather Healy said today.

Up to 237 soldiers are expected to leave in the next three days, said Lt. Col Charles Karamba, a spokesman for the Rwandan Army.

On Aug. 15, roughly 155 Rwandans became the first foreign soldiers to arrive in Darfur.

The Nigerians expect to deploy another 350 soldiers over the next few weeks, bringing its total deployment to a battalion of 550.

Nigerian troops head to a U.S. C-130 for transport into the Darfur region of Sudan in Abuga, Nigeria, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2004.

The C-130s will continue to airlift additional forces into the region over the next two weeks.

“Airlift plays a small, but vital role, and we are proud and honored to help the (African Union) as they embark to solve this crisis,” said Col. Robert Baine, 322nd Air Expeditionary Group commander.

The group’s mission is limited to providing airlift support. U.S. troops will not be on the ground in Sudan, said Capt. Heather Healy, 322nd AEG public affairs officer.

“The (Hercules) is the workhorse of the Air Force,” said Maj. Paul Howard, a C-130 pilot from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. “Unlike jet aircraft that require a debris-free runway, the C-130 is a resilient, prop aircraft, and that makes it capable of landing on unfinished airfields.” (Courtesy of U.S. Air Forces in Europe News Service)


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