Rwandan President Paul Kagame on July 4, conferred the country's National Order of Bravery (Indengabaganizi) on Maj. Gen. (rtd) Henry Kwami Anyidoho and Maj. Gen. (rtd) Joseph Narh Adinkra, for their decision to stay back and save people during the 1994 Genocide.
A report by Rwandan daily, The New Times said the President commended both Ghanaian Generals for their dedication and commitment and wished them a ‘happy Liberation Day,’ which the country observes to celebrate the end of the Genocide.
Rwanda awards the National Order of Bravery to an individual or group of individuals who demonstrate outstanding acts of self-sacrifice to save the lives of others.
The report quotes President Kagame as noting that a genocide produces no heroes, and simply doing one’s duty required exceptional courage like these generals did, and while most failed the test, these officers did not.
“The Ghanaian battalion saved countless lives under the most difficult circumstances and there is no soldier involved who does not carry invisible wounds in his heart to this day. Where others fled or were withdrawn by their governments, leaving Rwandans to their fate, these officers remained and continued to lead their men and women, and did what was right to do,” the President said of them.
Anyidoho was the Deputy Force Commander of the Ghanaian contingent and Adinkra was the former Commanding Officer of the Ghanaian battalion in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda in 1994.
They made a decision for the under-resourced and outnumbered forces to stay behind and hold their position to protect thousands of civilians who sought refuge at the UN facilities during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Anyidoho said: “At a time when the UN in New York was contemplating the decision to close down its mission in Rwanda in view of the deteriorating security situation, I said to myself as an African General playing a role in the mission, ‘we cannot turn our backs on Rwanda.”
He then sought and obtained approval from the government of Ghana to retain a residual force to assist in addressing the deteriorating security situation in whichever way possible.
“I am, therefore, privileged to receive this medal on behalf of officers and troops who stood behind me to ensure that, together we made humble contributions to assuring peace retained in Rwanda, I dedicate this medal to the heroes who paid their ultimate price and those who bore the scars of sharpened wounds in their bodies,” he said.