Government sacks over 1000 soldiers in major shake-up, day after coup in Gabon

Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, also serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), has granted approval for the retirement of 95 military generals and senior officers, along with 930 junior soldiers.

The announcement was made through an official statement published on the Rwanda Defense Force’s official website.

It comes at a time the African continent is in the spotlight for coups with the latest military takeovers occurring in Niger Republic and Gabon.

Leading the list of retirees is General James Kabarebe, formerly the Minister of Defence and Chief of Defense Staff for the country.

General Kabarebe, now retired, had been fulfilling the role of special advisor to the president, focusing on matters of security.

Reports from local media suggest that some of those retired had reached the mandatory retirement age of 65, while others faced allegations of misconduct.

The statement provides detailed information, indicating the president’s endorsement for the retirement of 83 senior officers, 06 junior officers, 86 senior NCOS, 678 contracts reaching their end, and 160 medical discharges.

Before their retirement, the Ugandan president took steps to elevate several lieutenant colonels to the position of colonels and brigade commanders.

While the announcement does not explicitly elaborate on the reasons behind the retirement of over 600 military officers, in preceding weeks, the president had conversed with opinion leaders about the importance of national unity.

According to him, “Our history offers insight into the destructiveness of division. Conversely, our transformation as a nation has been a result of unity.

People have suffered due to divisions within families, with some having members on both sides. Our only resolution is unity. We must refrain from revisiting the damaging path of division; that would be self-inflicted harm.”

In response to this development, certain users on X (formerly known as Twitter) posited that this act could be a strategic measure to prevent coups, while others praised the dedication of soldiers who had served the nation for more than three decades.