By Rpf Gakwerere
One thing that President Paul Kagame has done in his more than 2 decades in power, it’s to arm his personalised army to the teeth.
President Paul Kagame is a product of war and believes in war as a means of political survival. In 2018, while meeting members of Military high command, the President noted, “as a command in chief, I will continue working hard to see the army acquiring Military materials that are necessary to out match African standards. We need to keep our standards in security, war and intelligence. We should continue being the best in this game.”
During the 2020 war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, in what was known as the Nagorno-Karabakh war, President Paul Kagame was impressed by how drones played a key role in Azerbaijan’s win against Armenia. A senior military official in Rwanda recently told me, “the September 2020 Nagorno – Karabakh conflict convinced Afande to purchase combat drones. Azerbaijan smartly used Turkish drones to destroy Armenia’s military columns and ground formations.”
“I hope you have been following the current civil war in Libya. You saw how Gen Khalifa Haftar’s military campaign to take control of Tripoli and Western Libya backfired after the UN backed government in Tripoli started using Turkish drones against Gen Khalifa Haftar’s forces. Benghazi’s strongman, Gen Khalifa Haftar was at the get of Tripoli, but Combat drones changed the war momentum. And Commander In Chief who is very keen in warfare has realised the power of combat drones in modern warfare,” noted a senior military officer in President Paul Kagame’s army – RDF.
According to a very reliable source within President Paul Kagame’s army – RDF, in January of this year, 2021, 10 military personnel from the presidential guard went to Turkey for advanced training in Drone control and aerial surveillance. These military personnel finished their course in November 2021, and they are back in Rwanda. These military operatives are the ones who will be controlling these attack combat drones.
On 12th May 2021, President Paul Kagame relocated Brig Gen Joseph Demali from Kenya to Turkey as Rwanda’s Defence Attaché. Brig Gen Joseph Demali is married to President Paul Kagame’s close relative, and his also a trusted officer.
Relocation of Brig Gen Joseph Demali from Kenya to Turkey wasn’t a mere diplomatic deployment but rather a strategic appointment of a trusted servant who would oversee the procurement of Turkish made combat drones, Bayraktar TB2, medium altitude long endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).
In June this year, 2021, President Paul Kagame placed an order for four Bayraktar TB2 combat drones, and according to a very reliable source, two were delivered last month, November. And the remaining two will be delivered in next financial year, 2022. Brig General Joseph Demali who had just arrived in Ankara, Turkey, was at the centre of procuring Bayraktar TB2. It’s through these covert procurement deals that President Paul Kagame and his cronies always loot the Country’s coffers.
The Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones don’t come at a cheap price. For example, Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces (Far-Maroc) announced on April 18, 2021, that they are buying 13 unarmed Bayraktar TB2s for $70 million. Therefore an unarmed drone would cost roughly around $ 5million. Another example, Poland bought six Bayraktar TB2 at a cost of $67 million, which means, a single fully-armed Bayraktar TB2 would come at a relatively price of approximately $10 million. And President Paul Kagame placed an order for four Bayraktar TB2 combat drones. For a fully armed Bayraktar TB2 drones, oppressed and enslaved Rwandans will be paying $ 40 million dollars, minus the price of setting up a drone control – operation room.
Many African countries are in the rush to purchase Bayraktar TB2 combat drones, Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Ethiopia, Angola, Somalia, Morocco, Ivory Coast…etc, have either purchased the drones, or in the process of purchasing the killer weapon.
For nearly 10 years, Rwanda’s security agencies have been using fully Autonomous based Surveillance drones known as Smart Aerial Monitoring Systems (SAMS) purchased from Bulgaria. These surveillance and inspection drones were divided between three security institutions, 1) presidential guard division 2) Special Forces 3) Police force. For Bayraktar TB2, they will be fully under the Presidential guard division.