Centre graduates 65 troops for peace keeping mission to Mali

By Sani Idris

Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in Jaji, Kaduna State,  has graduated 65 troops, to be deployed for peace keeping mission in Mali.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the troops form  Nigerian Medical Contingent 9 Level II Hospital for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (NIMED 9 MINUSMA).

The Chief of Operations, Army Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Olufemi Akinjobi, said while addressing the troops on Friday in Jaji, that they should avoid conduct capable of tarnishing  Nigeria’s image as they  discharged their duties.

He said the troops should avoid sexual exploitation, adhere to rules of engagement, observe human rights and respect for diversity in the operating environment.

Akinjobi, represented by Brig.-Gen. Bayode Adetoro, the Director, Peace Support Operations, Army Headquarters, said  deployment of troops for peace keeping mission was part of Nigeria’s contributions to global peace and security.

He said it was also to ensure security and stability in Africa, especially the West African Sub-Region, through collective security and contributing to international peace and security.

“This is our central overall objective of National Defence Policy; therefore, participating in peace support operations is one specific task of the Armed Forces in realising the objectives,” he said.

Akinjobi noted that since 1960, Nigeria had deployed over 200,000 peacekeepers to 40 peacekeeping missions in Africa and across the world.

He explained that the peacekeepers, alongside others from around the world, helped to  pursue the common course of humanity, assisted nations in distress, justified the presence and continuation of UN’s work as the most indispensable organisations.

Akinjobi further said that as a prerequisite, member states had the responsibility for the delivery of pre-deployment training for its personnel prior to UN operations.

He said the training was expected to provide the essential knowledge required by all peacekeeping personnel to function effectively in UN peacekeeping operations.

“The focus is to offer a shared understanding of the basic principles, guidelines and policies of UN peacekeeping to guide peacekeeping personnel as they carry out critical tasks to assist countries in the transition from conflict to peace,” he said.

Akinjobi urged them to deploy the skills they acquired during the pre-deployment training to save lives in the mission area, adding that the focus of contemporary UN peacekeeping was the comprehensive protection of civilians in conflict.

Earlier, the Commandant, of MLAILPKC, Maj.-Gen. Auwal Fagge, said the three weeks intensive training given to the troops was in line with the UN pre-deployment modules and guidelines.

He said the Centre’s mandate was to be responsible  for providing quality training for troops earmarked for peace support operations, prepare them for the multidimensional challenges in contemporary peacekeeping environments which had become very dynamic and complex.

“The mission’s specific training received by the unit is meant to provide the troops with requisite skills to enable them to operate under the prevailing conditions in Mali in the most professional manner,” he said.

Fagge further said that troops went through phases of pre-deployment training which included training involving weapon trainings, basic military skills, protection of civilians, child protection and sexual exploitation and abuse.

He said at the final phase, the training  involved the core medical and integrated training which brought together all the theoretical and practical lessons to enhance decision making within the unit and visualisation of the real mission conditions.

NAN reports that high point of the event was the practical demonstration of evacuating and treatment of wounded troops while in peacekeeping operations. (NAN)