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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dispute Marks UN Pullout From Rwanda

KIGALI -- The commander and last member of UN forces in Rwanda pulled out on Friday, saying he was proud of what his troops achieved, and a UN envoy arrived to defuse rows with the government.


UN Force Commander Indian Brigadier-General Siva Kumar and five bodyguards left on a C-130 transport plane for Nairobi, the last UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda, or UNAMIR, flight to Kenya.


"We did a good job here under very difficult circumstances ... I am proud of what the troops achieved," he told reporters, leaving behind the UNAMIR compound packed with UN vehicles and equipment.


UN envoy Marrack Goulding arrived shortly after Kumar left and said he was confident of persuading Kigali to accept a small UN political office and end a row over equipment left behind by UNAMIR.


His mission appeared tough, given the Rwandan government's open hostility towards the United Nations, which it blames for failing to stop the genocide of a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.


"My purpose in being here is to try to bring to a conclusion negotiations on a small political office to take over from the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda," he told a news conference.


Goulding said he would also tell the government that equipment donated to it by the UN was not "junk" but was worth $8.5 million dollars and included 150 vehicles, 80 generators, computers, facsimile machines and prefabricated buildings.


Asked what he would do if Rwanda stood its ground and refused to accept it, Goulding said; "It's an offer we made to them and should they decline we'll give it to other people who need it."


Outgoing UN Special Envoy Shaharyar Khan said he had still not received official notification of the government rejection.


"I am still waiting to hear from them," said Khan, who is expected to leave Rwanda with his lone bodyguard on Saturday.


UNAMIR arrived in Rwanda on Nov. 1, 1993, to back a peace agreement signed three months earlier to end civil war since 1990 and to allow power-sharing and a return of refugees.


At is peak it had some 7,000 troops in the tiny country.


But the UN mission went horribly wrong when Rwandan Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana was assassinated on April 6, 1994, triggering the three-month genocide by Hutu troops, militias and mobs.


Most Rwandans, angry the UN failed to prevent the mass slaughter, are only too happy to see the back of UN forces.