President Paul Kagame has made sweeping changes in the upper echelons of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), appointing Gen Jean-Bosco Kazura as the RDF Chief of Defence Staff.
Kazura, who was also promoted to four-star General from Major General, replaces Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, who was last evening appointed to Cabinet and named Minister for Internal Security.
Nyamvumba had served as Chief of Defence Staff since June 2013.
With military experience spanning three decades, Gen Kazura, 56, was until yesterday the Commandant of RDF Command and Staff College – Musanze.
He has previously held senior military positions at home and abroad, having twice served at the highest levels of two United Nations peacekeeping missions, in Mali and Sudan.
In June 2013, Kazura was named by the UN Secretary-General as the commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (Minusma). Earlier, he had served as Deputy Force Commander and Chief Military Observer of the African Union Mission in Sudan.
A graduate of Zambia’s Command and Staff College in Lusaka (1998), and Nigerian War College, Abuja (2001), Kazura has previously held brigade- and division-level commands, while he also once served as Commandant of Rwanda Defence Force Combat Training Centre – Gabiro.
Among other roles, he served as Military and Security Adviser to the President, while he also headed the country’s football federation, FERWAFA.
Gen Kazura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and the social sciences as well as a diploma in law.
Meanwhile, President Kagame, the Commander-in-Chief of the Rwanda Defence Force, also reappointed Gen Fred Ibingira as new Chief of Staff of the Reserve Force.
Ibingira had been replaced in the same position in November last year having first served in the role back in 2010.
He replaces Lt Gen Jacques Musemakweli, who was yesterday appointed the Inspector General of RDF.
Maj Gen Innocent Kabandana, who was until yesterday Commander of Special Operations Force, has been named the Deputy Reserve Force Chief of Staff, according to an RDF statement released last night.
Brig Gen Didas Ndahiro has been appointed the new Commandant of RDF Command and Staff College – Musanze, replacing Gen Kazura.
Ndahiro was until yesterday the Commander of Artillery Division.
Also appointed is Brig Gen Ephrem Rurangwa, who becomes the Commandant of Rwanda Military Academy – Gako. Rurangwa has been serving as Chief J4 (Logistics).
Brig Gen James Ruzibiza, who was until yesterday the Chief J9 (Civil-Military Relations), was promoted from Colonel and appointed Commander of Engineering Brigade.
Karusisi Ruki has been elevated from Colonel to Brigadier General and appointed Commander of Special Operations Force, replacing Maj Gen Kabandana.
Brig Gen Ruki was until yesterday Deputy Commander of Special Operations Force.
The Commander-in-Chief also appointed Col Joseph Karegire as Chief J3 (Operations and Training), Col Faustin Kalisa as Chief J1 (Personnel), and Col Adolphe Simbizi as Chief J4 (Logistics).
Col Karegire was until yesterday Commander of Military Police, while Col Kalisa and Col Simbizi were serving as Commander, Engineering Brigade, and Director, Patrimony at the Ministry of Defence, respectively.
Col Jean-Paul Karangwa was named the new Commander of Military Police, replacing Col Karegire, while Patrick Karuretwa was promoted to Colonel up from Lieutenant Colonel. Karuretwa is Principal Private Secretary to the President.
Lt Col Emmanuel Kanobayire was promoted to Colonel and effectively appointed Second in Command of Special Operations Force. He has been serving as a battalion commander in Special Operations Force.
Also promoted from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel is Jules Rwirangira, who was also appointed Commander of Artillery Division.
Lt Col Lausanne Ingabire was named Chief J9. She has been serving as Director of Gender in J9.
Also promoted is Regis Rwagasana Sankara who has been elevated to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel up from Major, three weeks after he emerged the best student in the latest cohort of graduates of the RDF Command and Staff College – Musanze.
The new changes and deployments took immediate effect, according to the statement.