RBAF personnel join peacekeeping mission
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THIRTY personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) will be part of a peacekeeping mission in Southern Lebanon, following an official sending-off ceremony held at Bolkiah Garrison yesterday.
The RBAF’s latest contingent of peacekeepers will serve the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) mission alongside their Malaysian counterpart — Malaysian Battalion (MALBATT) 850-4.
The men are scheduled to depart the sultanate today. Major Azhan Hj Ahmad, the contingent leader said that the mission is a huge responsibility for them especially since they are representing RBAF and the name of their country.
“This mission is a first for most of us so it is an honour to be selected and we will do our best in fulfilling the tasks entrusted to us,” he said.
He went on to say that among the scope of their duties for UNIFIL is performing peacekeeping operations on areas at south of Litani River and ‘Blue Line’ in Southern Lebanon as mandated by the United Nations.
Following a handover of the national flag to head of the contigent, Deputy Defence Minister First Admiral (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Abdul Aziz Hj Mohd Tamit placed berets on the UNIFIL peacekeepers and attached UN patches on their sleeves to mark the contingent deployment.
Held at the garrison’s Dewan Gerak Badan, the sending-off ceremony also saw families and colleagues gathering to bid farewell to the nation’s peacekeepers.
After serving the military nearly 17 years, Staff Sergeant Pg Redzali Pg Hj Ahmad was overjoyed for the opportunity to serve his country with the overseas mission.
“But at the same time, I’m also overwhelmed with the fact that I will be away from my wife and kids for this year-long deployment, which is the longest one I’ve had since I joined the army,” he added.
The military officer went on say that despite any challenges, he vowed to do his best and put into practice the three-month training of their peacekeeping mission in Malaysia.
Also in attendance during the ceremony were RBAF Commander Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih Abdullah and High Commissioner of Malaysia to Brunei Datuk Ghulam Jelani Khanizaman.
Brunei has been part of the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission since 2008 and the last RBAF contingent serving in UNIFIL was deployed in September 2015 and is expected to return this month.
The Brunei Times