6 army personnel complete tour of duty in Mindanao

National 2 minutes, 4 seconds


SIX Brunei soldiers of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) return from their term of service under the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao yesterday.

Stationed for one year under a mission of peace, the team led by Major Pg Hamdiah Pg Hj Hashim retired their IMT armbands after carrying out their duties on the island of Mindanao since 1 May 2010.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, Major Pg Hamdiah said his team were tasked with monitoring various areas of the Mindanao island, distributed at Zamboanga, General Santos and Iligan city but mainly in Cotabato.

He said that their efforts consisted of components namely security, communications, humanitarian rehabilitation, and development that needed to be followed while working together with soldiers who represented other countries from around the world.

The purpose of these action were "to promote the process of negotiations or peace between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces and the Philippine government," he said.

"I personally am very thankful towards His Majesty's decision in introducing and delivering my team as well as my nine friends who are currently in Cotabato at this time."

He added that their selection for the mission was a rare golden opportunity which not many in the armed forces are fortunate enough to experience.

As part of their service under the IMT, the soldiers were also granted the opportunity to return home to visit their families and friends every month which was not exempt for those from the Sultanate but others from Malaysia, Japan and the European Union, who have only been stationed in Cotabato since January this year.

"What I expect and hope for all the previous IMT teams is for the process of negotiations and peace to succeed in reaching an agreement as per the intention of the MILF in declaring the island of Mindanao under its own Islamic rule and in under his own command," Major Pg Hamdiah said.

Yesterday's ceremony took place at the Royal Brunei Air Force Rimba Base where guest of honour RBAF Commander Major General Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin, removed the IMT armbands of the six soldiers, signifying the end of their mission.

Also present were the Ambassador of the Republic of The Philippines, permanent and deputy secretaries of the Ministry of Defence, service commanders and commandants, directors and senior officers of RBAF as well as the families of the contingent.

The Brunei Times