Source: Ministry of Defence Rwanda
Rear Admiral Franken accompanied by Col Peter Kalimba (J3), at Gisozi genocide Memorial.
The Commander of the Djibouti-based United States Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Rear Admiral Michael T. Franken, yesterday, arrived in the country for a one-day official working visit. Upon arrival, Franken headed straight to Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi where he paid tribute to over 250,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
After a guided tour, the commander of one of the most strategic US bases in Africa, said what happened in Rwanda, as portrayed by the memorial centre, serves as a lesson, particularly for Africa, that such tragedies should never happen again.
“I would say that a facility like this serves multiple purposes; first and foremost, not to forget what happened, and secondly, to learn from it…..to ensure that there is always a level of understanding between all aspects of the society; the people and those in power to ensure that they don’t turn on each other. From what I have seen here, I hope in modern times it will never happen again,” Franken said.
Admiral Franken visited the United States African Command staff in Rwanda and also held discussions with top Rwandan military officials. He also visited a training school built by the command, where he pledged continued support. “We are looking at building more schools as part of our continued support. We will also provide support in the training of Rwandan officers assigned on overseas missions,” Franken said.
Rear Adm. Franken assumed office in May 2011. Previously, he served as the vice director, Strategy, Plans and Policy (J5) at US Central Command since 2008.