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UN commends 2 Malawian peacekeepers for courage

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By Pilirani Kachinziri:

Two Malawian soldiers have been commended by the United Nations (UN) for their exemplary courage during the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco).

In November, six Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers died in a rebel ambush in the DRC, where they were part of a United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) peacekeeping mission.

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The two soldiers, Captain Wales Aidini and Lieutenant Zimveka Chatsika, have been commended after Private Chancy Chitete of Malawi was posthumously awarded the ‘Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage’ by UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, at a ceremony marking the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in New York in May this year.

According to a statement released on Wednesday by the UN, during his speech at the ‘Diagne Medal” award ceremony, the Secretary- General mentioned that eight other peacekeepers had been nominated for the award which showed the extraordinary courage and commitment of peacekeepers.

In May, the Secretary- General sent letters to Malawian officers Captain Wales Aidini and Lieutenant Zimveka Chatsika in which he commended their “exemplary courage” and offered his sincere gratitude.

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“Your actions reflect the finest tradition of United Nations Peacekeeping,” states the release.

Aidini was hailed for the role he played during a Monusco military operation conducted in Eastern DRC on November 14 2018.

“As the second-in-command, you showed the utmost professionalism by taking over command and with exceptional leadership and inspired the troops to fight on and repel the enemy attack.

“Your successful intervention contributed significantly in preventing further loss of life. You demonstrated exceptional bravery beyond the call of duty,” states the release.

Chatsika, who was involved in the same operation in Eastern DRC, was praised for his role in treating wounded soldiers.

“As the Medical Officer, you showed the utmost professionalism by treating casualties during heavy and sustained enemy fire. Your successful intervention contributed significantly in preventing further loss of life. You demonstrated exceptional bravery within the call of duty,” says the release.

According to the Munosco website, the mission has been authorised to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate relating to the protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence and to support the government of the DRC in its stabilisation and peace-consolidation efforts.

Notable rebel groups that have been terrorising the DRC include M-23, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, the Ugandan Alliance of Democratic Forces and other smaller groups.

The DRC, formerly Zaire, joined the UN on September 20 1960.

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