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UN honours fallen Malawian soldier

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By Jameson Chauluka & Faith Kadzanja:

United Nations (UN) Secretary- General António Guterres will on Friday, May 24, honour fallen Malawian soldier Private Chancy Chitete with the ‘Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal’ for his courage.

He will be honoured during International Day of UN Peacekeepers commemorations at UN headquarters in New York, the United States.

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The Diagne Medal was established in 2014 to recognise uniformed and civilian personnel who demonstrate exceptional courage.

A statement which the UN released Monday says the award is named after the late Captain Diagne, who saved hundreds of lives in 1994 before being killed while serving as a UN peacekeeper in Rwanda.

Chitete died in November last year alongside five other Malawian soldiers as he tried to serve his Tanzanian UN peace-keeping colleague against the ADF, an armed group that has been terrorising civilians and disrupting ebola response efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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“During the operation, Private Chitete saw a badly wounded Tanzanian peacekeeper, Corporal Ali Khamis Omary, who was unable to move and was exposed to enemy fire. Leaving his unit, Private Chitete single-handedly brought his wounded comrade to safety, sustaining fatal injuries while providing life-saving first aid.

“Corporal Omary survived and Private Chitete’s heroism and sacrifice helped the peacekeepers achieve their objective and dislodge the ADF from its stronghold,” the statement reads.

The statement quotes UN Under-Secretary- General, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, as saying the remarkable actions of Chitete helped protect many lives, both civilian and military.

“Private Chitete remains an inspiration to us all and we are proud to honour his memory and commemorate his brave and selfless action,” Lacroix is quoted as saying.

The statement says the inaugural medal was presented to Captain Diagne’s family in his honour in 2016 but, despite a number of remarkable nominations over the past four years, the awarding of the medal to Chitete will mark the first time the actions of a UN peacekeeper have been found to meet standards set by Captain Diagne.

Private Chitete’s family is expected to receive the medal on his behalf in New York.

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