Army deploys 800 peacekeepers

Army deploys 800 peacekeepers

No fewer than 43,000 officers and men have been deployed by the Nigerian Army to the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) for peacekeeping mission, making the country the largest troop contributor to the crisis in the Sudanese region.

Commandant, Nigerian Army Peace Keeping Centre (NAPKC), Maj.-Gen. John Zaruwa, stated this on Monday at the graduation ceremony of another 800 peacekeepers who received pre-deployment training at the Nigerian Army Peace Keeping Centre (NAPKC), Jaji, near Kaduna.

Zaruwa said the troops had received adequate training "to ensure effective performance in any Peace Support Operation theatre."

General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Lagos, Maj.-Gen. Kenneth Jacob Minimah, warned the fresh peacekeepers to stay away from acts that might soil the country's reputation while deployed abroad for peacekeeping.

The GOC, who was represented by the Commander, Nigerian Army School of Infantry (NASI), Maj.-Gen. Kenneth Osuji, stated: "As you are aware, Nigeria is the largest troop contributing nation to the United Nations' Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) operations.

In this regard, you should strive to live above board and avoid anything that will ridicule the good image of our dear country as built over the years in the area of international peace and security.

"As your General Officer Commanding, I have confidence in your ability to execute your task in accordance with UNAMID's mandate. But I must remind you that Nigerian Army will not accept any situation where its soldiers are disarmed, hence the need for effective leadership at all levels".

He stressed that having expended huge resources on the training of the soldiers, the Nigerian government placed high premium on their capability as a peacekeeping force, saying, "as such, your performance must be of highest standard".

Zaruwa said considering the volatility of the Darfur operational environment, the troops had been equipped with 'Advanced Rifle Marksmanship' and Field Training Exercise to deal with the challenges.

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