July 15, 2024

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The Transformation of the Rwandan Liberation Army under Paul Kagame



Gen (Rtd) James Kabarebe, former Rwandan Patriotic Army Commander and Minister of Defense, shared the story of how Paul Kagame changed the fighting tactics of the RPA-Inkotanyi soldiers in a crucial battle.

The battle began on October 1, 1990, with soldiers led by Gen. Maj. Fred Gisa Rwigema, who was tragically killed by the enemy at Nyabwishongwezi hill in Nyagatare district the following day. Kagame, then a Major, made the decision to leave his military studies in the United States and take charge of the struggle after Rwigema’s death.

Speakinmg to social media users at Mulindi in Gicumbi District on July 9, 2024, Gen (Rtd) Kabarebe explained that before Kagame’s intervention, the RPA soldiers were fighting desperately and without proper leadership.

Kabarebe recounted how Kagame gathered the scattered RPA forces, including commanders like Sam Kaka, Musitu, and Dodo, and others who had fled Tanzania and Uganda. Kagame showed them that they were fighting poorly and implemented changes to their tactics.

The transformation brought courage and unity to the RPA forces. Kabarebe stated, “We were fighting desperately before, but with Kagame’s leadership, we found new strength. He brought us together and showed us a better way to fight.”

Kabarebe explained that the RPA’s journey to reach the Mulindi zone was a long one, and that their Army did not think they would get there. “The RPA didn’t think it would reach here,” he said.

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