Armed Forces Overviews
Rwanda

Rwanda Air Force / Force Aérienne Rwandaise

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Other Forces
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By Michiel Vermeer & Erwin van Dijkman

The Republic of Rwanda was granted independence from Belgium in 1962. The Tutsi minority was surpressed by the ruling Hutus from the late fifties. The broiling unrest resulted in an insurgency by the Tutsi minority in the early nineties of the last century. In 1994 the Hutu government orchestrated an appalling genocide which, including subsequent Tutsi retributions, led to around a million deaths. After the rebels ousted the Hutu government the Tutsis formed a government of national unity. In the decades that followed the Hutu refugees slowly returned to the country, which they had fled fearing Tutsi retaliation. Remarkably, after this bloody past, Rwanda is currently regarded as one of Africa's example countries and is a participant in UN Peace keeping missions.

Most of the early air force material originated from Belgium and France. Notably Alouette and Gazelle helicopters. The air force had been abolished and amalgamated into the Armée Patriotique Rwandaise that later became the Forces Rwandaises de Défense (Rwandese Defense Forces) in 2002. Nowadays, it mainly operates a mix of Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters. In 2009 the Police Airwing was formed and it now has one R44 on strength.